Inclusive. Interactive. Imaginative
- 10th – 21st August 2009
40 young performers from across Hackney and East London channelled their creative energy at the Hackney Empire Studio as part of a free two week theatre project - culminating in performances at the Hackney Empire Studio.
Young people, aged 11 to 18, worked with theatre professionals, dance tutors and musicians - including composer and Indo-Jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh - to devise a script, make costumes and choreograph a show which was staged with two live performances to family and friends. The theatre was full to bursting for both shows.
We worked together with Family Mosaic to bring teams of artists, including writer Jess Walters, into local youth clubs and community settings to take part in free drama workshops.
We ran workshops at Parkside and Springfield youth clubs, community centres on Wilton Estate, Northwold and Joseph Court as well as Shakespeare Walk Adventure. These sessions were used to engage young performers, giving them a taste of what was in store for the two-weeks and gathering stories which participants used to create the show at the Empire.
The first week began with introductions to drama, dance, voice and rhythm with lots of team building and “getting-to-know-you” games. As the week progressed the groups’ confidence and trust in each other grew allowing them the freedom to create and develop characters with confidence. The team were impressed by the creativity of the young people and the interesting and complicated characters they created.
From these challenging characters storylines began to emerge that linked them together within the fairground setting. Through these storylines, starting points for songs were created that the young people developed, writing lyrics and working closely with the musician to devise the musical accompaniment to the songs.
To create the physical aspects of the fairground on the stage the choreographer and directors used movement voice and rhythm to create white knuckle rides, a candy floss machine, a ghost train, a feris-wheel and a big top tent using the young peoples ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
The group also went to see ‘Once on this Island’ a musical set in the Caribbean at the Hackney Empire which gave them lots of ideas and inspiration for their production.
Participants enjoyed the chance to be creative and build confidence.
“I am really enjoying being given the freedom to create characters that feel part of the play. I am learning to work with people I have never met before as a team and to be professional even when there are clashes of opinion.”
Damilola Alli-Baloguh, aged 17.
“I really like it when we get to make up our own performances. We all get a chance to sing, dance and act. I’ve learnt not to be so shy and to be more confident.”
Tiyanna Rose, aged 11
“I’ve learnt how to project my voice and be more confident.”
Levi Jackson aged 16
Exposure has been a great catalyst for young people who were not attending our Youth Theatres to get involved and continue developing their skills.
We also received some great feedback from the audience:
“It’s a very good show, I really loved it.”
“Thanks for showing there is art in Hackney.”
“More please for the young people. They are so gifted - allow them to shine!”
“Great way to help young people find their voice. Fantastic!”