Sandwell is very excited about the Festival! The young people have been busy making lots of plans and we are now looking at locations and content.
At both labs we have two solid groups of dedicated participants who are extremely committed to making this Festival a success. We are still recruiting as we go, and in the last two weeks have had two more young people join our sessions at RSA. There is a new choir starting up there and some of the young people joining the choir are also hopefully going to join the Emerge group. We normally get about 10-13 people each week.
At the centre, in addition to our regular group of about 10, we are speaking to the music groups to see if those who meet on other nights would also like to attend on a Monday and join our planning sessions.
I think the most important thing is the opportunity for these young people to create something that they are proud of and that they contributed to the ideas and design of.
The Festival is looking like it will take place at a location in Sandwell that will attract a great audience, be a new place for them to get to know and to add to their performance venue repertoire!
My expertise is theatre, but our workshops involve all sorts!
In the first few sessions we focused on developing our improvisation skills and building our companies so that we were ready to collaborate.
We started by exploring a bullet point version of Romeo and Juliet, and the young people have very much developed this into their own version. More shaking tic-tacs than biting thumbs!
They have also all generated material which is inspired by Romeo & Juliet, or by the beginning of Macbeth, and this could be in any art-form they wanted, so our sessions are now filled with dance, music, drama and art.
I have had to think very carefully about balancing sessions so that we are doing work as an entire group, and work that is inclusive of the entire group, at the same time as embracing the smaller group work the young people have requested to do. In both labs, we are hoping to make one group piece of theatre, and then smaller groups of music, dance and drama.
We are busy preparing for a sharing of our work which is going to be at the end of this term. It will be the first time the two groups will meet and it will be a chance for them to involve parents and friends in the Festival developments and plans – as well as showing them their brilliant and creative work.