OUTREACH

Young Writers’ Lockdown Recordings

During lockdowns writer and facilitator Becci Sharrock worked with Queen’s Hall and Hexham Book Festival to provide on-line writing courses to young people covering everything from poetry to prose, scriptwriting to working with found text.  The courses gave young writers the opportunity to stay creative during lockdowns and to try lots of different writing styles, they took part in a series of masterclasses provided by Lucie Brownlee (Prose), Allison Davies (Audio Drama), Bridie Jackson (Song writing), Matt Miller (Poetry) and Degna Stone (Finding Your Writing Community).

We’re delighted to be able to showcase their below.

“The way our young writers have embraced every exercise and prompt, every different writing style and task, has blown me away.  It can be difficult to be creative at the best of times, but with everything young people have faced over the last year, from schools’ closures, to exams being cancelled, and changing lockdown restrictions, they’ve shown their resilience, determination and talent.  The work they’ve created collectively is inspiring, thought-provoking and of a really high standard – addressing everything from mental health to politics and space travel.  I’m so excited that we can share it with you and I hope you enjoy reading or listening to them as much as I have.”  Becci Sharrock, facilitator

Here you can listen to Amy Langdown’s  Comfort in the Shadows

“I write a lot about mental health, my own experiences and essentially how it feels to be human. My main goal when writing is to make readers/listeners feel something.  When I wrote this piece, I wanted to focus on how it would make the listener feel – when I write I focus more on a ‘feeling’ or ‘vibe’ than anything else. For me, I wanted this piece to be ominous; I wanted people to be able to take different things from the piece and leave it open to interpretation. Although ‘Comfort in the Shadows’ was one of my favourite pieces of my writing, when trying to perform it, I could never quite get it right. After working with Lisette Auton, I felt like I finally got it right- ‘Comfort in the Shadows’ was finally how it had sounded in my head all along.”

Instagram: @a.l.flora.Poetry       Twitter: @amylangdown_

Creative Team & Credits

Comfort in the Shadows was written and performed by Amy Langdown

Mentoring was provided by Lisette Auton

Produced by Becci Sharrock

Sound Design by Matt Jamie

Here you can listen to  Hannah Weiner’s The Story of My So-called Rubbish

[Content warning: Please note, this audio piece contents swearing.]  

Hannah is a 19 year old artist and activist from Manchester. Recent works include: 

  • Author and designer of “In Waves” a partnership publication with Contact.  
  • Actor in Oldham Coliseum young rep company  
  • Youth campaigner and speaker at Reclaim.  

Hannah has thoroughly enjoyed this project and watching how you can take text and use it to create many forms of performance and has really enjoyed their time at Hexham Young Writers. Hannah is due to begin study at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in the BA hons degree in applied theatre and community drama. 

Instagram: @h.weiner_              Twitter: @That2thisTP  

Creative Team & Credits

The Story of My So-Called Rubbish was written by Hannah Weiner  

Performed by Lauren Hurwood. 

Directed by Anna Ryder 

Produced by Becci Sharrock 

Sound design by Matt Jamie 

Here you can listen to Nox B Conroy’s  Smile 

Here you can listen to Nox B Conroy’s  Mercury 

“I have loved delving back into these poems as I wrote them months before recording this. Working with Matt Miller was a joy and I’ve never felt more excited about sharing my work with someone before, their perspectives were really interesting, and I know I’d love to try something like this again. In terms of inspiration for the poems, I really struggled at the start of the pandemic because I shut myself off from a lot of people in a time when I needed to be dependent on them. This was the background for Mercury and as I wrote, it became more of a plea for help than anything else, so I found it fascinating to see someone else perform such a personal poem. Smile follows the dangers of the media industry in forcing a certain lifestyle and body type on its stars, and how this can warp their sense of self-worth. I found this easier to record because it allowed a bit of distance from myself and the narrative voice, and it’s definitely different to my usual tone due to the use of satire. I’m planning a two-part fantasy novel at the minute and have previously written many short poems and a short stage play. My dream is to be a writer because books have always been my passion and I’m really grateful for the insight into that world working with the Hexham Young Writers has given me. Becci’s masterclasses are always very useful and I can’t wait to see what’s next.” 

Smile Creative Team & Credits 

Smile was written and performed by Nox B Conroy 

Supported by Matt Miller 

Produced by Becci Sharrock 

Sound design by Matt Jamie 

Mercury Creative Team & Credits 

Mercury was written by Nox B Conroy  

Performed by Matt Miller 

Produced by Becci Sharrock 

Sound design by Matt Jamie 

 

Here you can listen to Joseph Casling’s Britannia Rules the Waves 

[Content warning: Please note, this audio piece contents swearing.] 

I’m an actor and writer from County Durham, who is currently in their second year of university. During the third national lockdown, I wanted to write a play about the political spectrum and the world around us. When I realised that I didn’t feel any political group represented me. This then inspired me to write about a situation in which a range of political characters came together to tackle a common adversary. 

Instagram: @josephcasling        Twitter: @JoeQef 

Creative Team & Credits

Britannia Rules the Waves was written by Joseph Casling 

Script support was provided by Allison Davies 

Directed by Scott Young 

Produced by Becci Sharrock 

Sound design by Matt Jamie  

Cast:  Michael Blair (Bishop), Lauren Hurwood (Rook), Dora Rubinstein (BBC Presenter), Robin Paley Yorke (Knight) 

Here you can listen to Bronwyn Payne’s An Incomplete Guide to Stealing Planets

I’ve always preferred comedy, and combined with my re-watching of different heist films, I decided to have a go myself. Space as a backdrop provided fuel for my imagination. There are no limits to what can happen. Moreover, I was interested in whether, once we have become integrated in the stars, what legacy of Earth will remain. I’ve grown up with audio drama as a backdrop to many a long car journey and found it a rewarding experience to let all the weird ideas my brain comes up with turn into coherent dialogue and plot. We’ll have to see about a conclusion!  

Creative Team & Credits 

An Incomplete Guide to Stealing Planets by Bronwyn Payne 

Script support was provided by Allison Davies  

Directed by Scott Young 

Produced by Becci Sharrock 

Sound design by Matt Jamie 

Cast: William Wyn Davies (Arnold), Lauren Hurwood (Dip), Jude Nelson (Nora), Museum Announcer (Bronwyn Payne), Katie Tranter (Josie) 

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