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We worked with a group of young people at 641 House to record oral histories by elders in their community who had emigrated to the UK. We taught them recording and sound editing, as well as interview techniques.
Once the recordings had been edited, we took the resultant stories and worked with a group of young performers from our Curio City Shop project to make a show based on the stories told by the elders. We got hold of the front half of a scottish fishing boat and installed it as the ‘stage’ for the piece in our studio. Telephones were attached to the boat, hacked into mp3 players, playing excerpts from the stories, the ‘sail’ had a projection of a film of the rehearsals and screens were placed in the ‘portholes’ with slideshows of the process looping on them. The boat was surrounded by sand and bottles containing messages. The young people spent weeks rehearsing their stories and creating a 40 minute play based on the material.
The resultant performance was very moving – hearing some quite horrific stories ‘from the mouths of babes’ gave a powerful twist to some of the material, more than one audience member left the show in stunned silence. There were stories of refugees from wars, of alcohol and abuse, of violence and fear. There were also stories of confusion and of humour iin adversity. It wwas incredibly powerful, we were determined to tell the stories and not to sanitize them for the young people, but were also careful not to traumatize them and discussed the issues that were emerging openly and in depth. The show was consequently taken up by HLF’s Young Roots programme as a model of best practice – the young people recieving ‘oscars’ for theirr participation.
Tweets"@jezc what a shame - and what a coincidence.... Yes see you on our return to discuss BITPO ( our blues party HLF work; part of BASS fest x"3 days ago"@jezc how long u there for? We're in Sofia on Monday? Will u still be there? Xx sand, lee, si x"3 days ago"@jezc we are going to Bulgaria right now!! Tho we're landing and heading straight up the mountain to Goatmilk fest.. Got a coupla hrs.."3 days ago