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#MakeThatChange Final Showcase

If you want to see how we created our final piece, alongside a glimpse at the actual production, watch our #MakeThatChange Documentary on Youtube.

After 7 weeks of workshops, our young people got together for an intensive production week at Carriageworks Theatre. Taking inspiration from every discipline we’ve studied, the young people created an inspiring performance using dance, song, comedy, physical theatre, film and photography. The final piece – Alex’s story – was a frank and honest look at the problems young people face in the modern world, and how gender and sexuality can influence our perceptions of ourselves.

“I was completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by the various mediums [the story] was expressed through and how they all tied together.”

 

We’re so proud of everyone who took part in #MakeThatChange! The feedback was glowing, with audience members saying it was the best show they’d seen in a long time. The final showcase was attended by over 60 members of the public, including the Lord Mayor of Leeds! Her feedback was so inspiring and we really hope to be able to continue our work with young people.

“Really brilliant experience. The most powerful theatrical experience involving young people I have ever seen – I have seen a lot!”

 

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#MakeThatChange –  (28/02/18)

#MakeThatChange is an exciting new performing arts and social action project for 15-20 year olds, which will explore the topic of abuse through the arts. 

Unfortunately this workshop was cancelled due to excessive snowfall. We will still be hosting a rap session with Jack Flash! Full details of the rescheduling will be announced soon, but is likely to be mid March.

For more information email outreach@imagineiftheatre.co.uk

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#MakeThatChange –  (14/02/18)

#MakeThatChange is an exciting new performing arts and social action project for 15-20 year olds, which will explore the topic of abuse through the arts. 

This week at #MakeThatChange, professional filmmaker Rad Miller (founder of Pocket Projects) led us in creating dramatic trailers! The teams were challenged to create a short trailer for a film of their choice – using only the props and locations we had to hand. Some of the young people were already filmmaking experts, while we definitely had a few filmmaking rookies (especially from the Imagine If Team!), but there was something for everyone to learn and chances develop their skills.

The team were introduced the techniques that make a film effective: different style of shots; the importance of sound and lighting; CGI; good director; an effective script; cinematography (or as it was effectively dubbed – making the film look good). Rad explained the how a variety of different shots can be used in film.

As one team, we learnt how to create a film storyboard each using our new-found knowledge to devise one scene for a hypothetical trailer. The team created a ‘whodunit’ dystopian thriller, leaving audiences on an enticing cliff-hanger asking who’d done it, but most importantly – what had happened? Having refined our storyboarding techniques and established what we needed to focus on for a truly great trailer, we headed off to make our “Amazing Film”.

A bird’s eye view shot, leaving the viewers wondering “who’s hand is that?”

Team 1 created a dramatic ‘thriller’, which combined elements of classic ‘teen’ movies with horror and sci-fi. The trailer gave nothing away, leaving you on a tantalising cliff-hanger of who was that? Using their own clothing as props, team 1 dressed themselves up for filming and utilised different film angles to confuse and intrigue viewers.

Team 1, dressing up for the occasion!

Team 2 created a classic horror, based on modern horrors such as Insidious and The Conjuring. Using editing tricks to darken corridors, and using different levels of light, they created a sense of fear using only two actors and a dark black coat.

You never know what you might bump into in a dark corridor…

Both teams used sound effects and searched for soundtracks which matched the theme of their trailer, before showcasing them at the end of the session. Rad was really impressed with the trailers the teams came up with and the teams had a great time! The teams got to bring in their skills from other workshops and saw just how effectively they could develop an amazing trailer.

The next #MakeThatChange session will be held on February 28th, and will focus on rap and song writing! So whether you’re a musical genius or don’t have a musical bone in your body – come join us and see what you can create. See you then!
You are still welcome join us from 6-9pm at Park Lane Campus, Leeds City College. Email Tamsin at outreach@imagineiftheatre.co.uk to register interest.

Come see what you can create, with Imagine If!

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#MakeThatChange –  (31/01/18)

#MakeThatChange is an exciting new performing arts and social action project for 15-20 year olds, which will explore the topic of abuse through the arts. 

#MakeThatChange blew away the January blues, yesterday, with a session on Spoken Word! We also introduced our Film-making lead Rad Miller. Rad is a Leeds based freelance filmmaker, director and editor, who founded the youth media production company Pocket Projects. He’ll be hosting the filmmaking session on Wednesday 14th February.

Rad Miller, Filmmaker

With some new faces at the session, the groups undertook block poetry – where they were given a piece of text and encouraged to cut out words. Texts including everything from adverts, to newspaper articles, and other poems. Finding words that told a story – without simply copying the original text – proved harder than expected, but the group’s imagination really shone through. Continuing the theme of abuse the group developed poems that discussed friendship, immigration and self-worth. Take a look at Paige’s poem:

 

the start 

this issue back on

the agenda

But             England,

noticed. Imagine  if the 
equalities   had been abolished

reshuffle. Yet this is what

abuse

follow from their powerlessness.

Their right to speak
                                    declining
          poverty          levels
increasing house prices, tuition fees
                    uncertain
                government

                          rights     blocked
                                     backlash
                  understand        recognise

more power

 

Photography by Rad Miller

The group really enjoyed the Spoken Word, saying they loved finding new ways to engage in creative writing and hearing the poems the others told. This session helped the team develop as a group, encouraging team work and supporting each-other. Spoken word is a strong contender for the final project!

The next session will be on filmmaking, on Wednesday 14th February. You are still welcome join us from 6-9pm at Park Lane Campus, Leeds City College. Email Tamsin at outreach@imagineiftheatre.co.uk to register interest.

 

Come join us on February 14th for a session on Filmmaking!

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#MakeThatChange –  (17/01/18)

#MakeThatChange is an exciting new performing arts and social action project for 15-20 year olds, which will explore the topic of abuse through the arts. 

“Now I’m looking forward to learning about all the different ways we can work within the creative arts.” – Duncan, 18

 

We kicked off our #MakeThatChange workshops by looking at theatre and body language. Using only our bodies to communicate we created various scenes, taking guesses at what the groups were trying to perform. It was clear to see how you don’t always need your voice to communicate! Lucy and Duncan recreated an intricate café scene just through use of expression!

As a group we discussed different types of abuse. The group focused on types of abuse that could affect them personally, including personal, psychological abuse and group mentality/peer pressure. We discussed the most common forms of abuse as Physical, Sexual, Financial, Psychological, Discriminatory, Neglect or acts of omission, Organisational, Self Neglect, Domestic Abuse, and Modern Slavery.

The group then created dramatic pieces which highlighted how two forms of this abuse might manifest. At first, they were tasked to create a non-verbal piece, using only their bodies and expressions to portray their message. Then they were given the opportunity to add 3 words to a physical piece.

The group then created dramatic pieces which highlighted how two forms of this abuse might manifest. At first, they were tasked to create a non-verbal piece, using only their bodies and expressions to portray their message. Then they were given the opportunity to add 3 words to a physical piece.

“Why me?” “Irrelevant”.

Adding words changed what initially looked like a piece about bullying, to a piece about psychological self-abuse and mental health. Such a limited use of speech really highlighted how words can have multiple meanings and can influence people in different ways.

“I wanted to get out of this a better understanding of everything and I wanted to have a fun time at the same time… And out of today, I did get a better understanding and I did have a good time!” – Lucy, 15

The next workshop will be held on Wednesday 31st January and focus on Spoken Word.

 

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Previous blogs posts…

You Forgot the Mince has finally come to an end (for now anyway) …

Over the past three years I have written, re-written and re-bloody-written my first full length play: ‘You Forgot the Mince’. I have never felt as scared as I did when I first sent this script out, although I’ve been writing for six years I struggled with the pressure of sharing my words on such a big scale. I’ve been on a long and at times, difficult journey over these past three years which has helped me grow as an artist and as a person. I’ve sat with victims of abuse and felt their pain, I’ve listened to perpetrators of abuse and felt their shame. I’ve written funding bids until four in the morning and I’ve left R&D’s crying thinking I can’t even write. I put my acting career on hold, I lived in various hostels and I repeatedly got told to ‘lower my ambition’. Thank f**k I didn’t listen to those people 😊

This phrase rings true for me: ‘No mud, no lotus’. A lotus flower can only grow in muddy waters and I like to think this represents my artistic and personal journey over the past three years; you have to spend time in the dark, not able to see the light and keep going in order to grow into a thing of beauty. Maybe I’m talking bollocks, maybe I’m not. The late Carrie Fisher sums it up beautifully for me: ‘Take your broken heart and make it into art’ . That’s pretty much what I did. But I made damn sure this play wasn’t just an egotistical piece of work or to gain success or status. I didn’t want to just tell my story but I wanted to tell everyone’s story who have been in love and who have been hurt. I worked myself to the bone to make sure there was an active change off the back of the play. I have worked with over 500 prisoners in total over the past three years, where the majority have physically or emotionally abused their partners. From controlling where they go to breaking their necks, I have worked with prisoners far and wide to inspire change and get to the root of the problem. A lot of people ask me why I do this, I try to explain that we are all people. We all make mistakes. And by ignoring a problem and not helping rehabilitate these men and women, we are enabling that problem to continue. These prisoners will all be released one day and if I can do my little bit to help them express themselves through watching ‘You Forgot the Mince’ or performing with us or devising a script themselves then I have given them hope. Hope to change. Hope to seek help for their issues. Hope to not repeat their pattern of abusive behaviour. I listened to their stories and devised drama workshops to help improve their confidence and communication skills and I made sure I took the play directly to them and not just to big theatres.

I’ve worked with and met hundreds of people over the last few years who have all played their role in the incredible success of ‘You Forgot the Mince’. So, I wanted to take the time to say a few thankyous…

Thank you to every single trust, foundation, charity and funding body that has financially supported the work of ‘You Forgot the Mince’. Your application forms and evaluations nearly kill me, but I am so grateful that you chose to fund it.

To the following people who have helped me with my research into domestic abuse: Pete Robinson and Lori Wiles from BRAVE, Alison Spink from HMP Leeds, Jane Thoy from Behind Closed Doors, the support workers at Women’s Aid, the staff at West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Centre and those who cannot be named to protect their identity. I am forever grateful to you.

To Mark. Thank you for the advice, the questions and the wine. You made it so much easier for me to be a real writer and didn’t use any of the fancy words half the industry use that I don’t understand. A boy from Beeston made the perfect dramaturg for a girl from Castleford.

Thank you to the lovely artists that helped me shape the play through research & developments: John Mulleady, Zodwa Nyoni, Matt Mills, Fiz Marcus, Michael White, Chris Yorke, Kate Radford and Charlotte Fox. I miss you all!

I want to thank Deborah for believing in me, being so supportive, lovely and down to bloody earth. (If I die you are taking over Imagine If).

Thank you to Stephen Whitson, my director during the 2016 pilot tour as well as the 2017 national tour. Thank you for being so caring and kind and carrying mattresses and tables across London for me. For taking your time with us and really believing in the play.

To Errol & Davina, thank you for telling me to shut up and let the movement take over my body. I needed that. Thank you for pushing me harder each time and teaching me to focus, hold my core and remind me of the strength I have. Thank you for directing the movement throughout both tours, you both amaze me.

I want to thank Julie for keeping me on my toes and being my pretend Grandma and for being one of the most ridiculous people I’ve ever met. Keep being ridiculous Julie.

I want to thank Ashley for teaching me how to laugh again and for repeatedly telling me to just be me. Thank you so much for making sure I got home ok and seeing past my insecurities, which at times, were certifiably insane.

Ursula, thank you for the hundreds of crosswords we’ve played together, if I ever need to know what four across is, it will be you I come to. Thank you for making me laugh on and off stage.

Prince, thank you for teaching me about focus. We all know I have little of that and not much of a filter, but you taught me how to focus and let go. Thanks for all the bruises and the hilarious onstage cover ups.

For Sophie, Andie, Tess and Sabina – you stage manager’s definitely know how to drink! And you always keep me nice and calm during the stressfulness of touring! What would I have done without you ladies?

For all the designers that have worked on the show, Kelli, Emma, Ed, Rebecca and Zia – well bloody done!!

Thank you to our lovely PR Consultants – Chloe Nelkin and Alison Duguid. And our graphic designers, Split Design and Rebecca Pitt.

Thank you to Tamsin for being my little ball of energy and making my job as Artistic Director so much easier.

My administrators, Rachel and Sue, thanks for being my sounding board in the office.

My wonderful volunteer placement student, Kathrine, thank you for making sure I always knew what time it was, I never actually set fire to the office and for listening to me being crazy stressful and not even battering an eyelid. I needed that.

Thank you to my Aunty Alison for coming in and helping me with my accounts when I had no one else to do it and no money left, you are amazing!

I want to thank my Grandma for always being my light, my heart, my soul. My Grandma told everyone I had written a play about her as I named one of the characters after her (the play wasn’t about her but I let her believe it). My Grandma was my ultimate soul mate, my beauty and grace and I don’t go a single day without thinking about you. I will love you forever and can’t wait to see you again.

I want to thank my Grandad for keeping my Wednesday nights beautiful. You calm me down more than anyone else can and you are the strongest person I know. I wish your eyes could let you see what I do, I think you would be proud.

Thank you to Hannah at the Arts Council for being a constant support of my work and for letting me have my little rants to you.

I want to thank Taj for keeping me alive and helping me howl with laughter through all the pain.

Imelda & Rich – my now London ‘mum and dad’. Thank you for the support during the tour and for letting me crash with you guys and for feeding and watering me. I am blessed to have met you both.

Thank you to every single prisoner that came to see ‘You Forgot the Mince’ and participated in the workshop with us, your braveness is second to none.

Thank you to The New Bradford Playhouse for supporting me in my first ever research and development stage with ‘You Forgot the Mince’. Thank you to Slung Low for hosting me for my second R&D.

Thank you to The Civic (Barnsley), CAST (Doncaster), Theatre in the Mill (Bradford), Square Chapel (Halifax), Hope Mill Theatre (Manchester) and Carriageworks Theatre (Leeds) for supporting Imagine If with our pilot tour of You Forgot the Mince.

Thank you to The Pleasance (Edinburgh), The Courtyard Theatre (London), Hope Mill Theatre (Manchester), MAC (Birmingham), Castle Theatre (Wellingborough), Shoebox Theatre (Swindon) and Interplay Theatre (Leeds) for supporting our national tour of You Forgot the Mince.

Without theatres investing in emerging writers and companies, the play would have never been seen by the public, so thank you all for programming us and for all your support.

Thank you to the following prisons for being so supportive of Imagine Ifs work and dealing with a bunch of crazy artists: HMP Leeds, HMP Wealstun, HMP Doncaster, HMP Peterborough, HMP Durham, HMP Lindholme, HMP Moorland, HMP Downview, HMP Onley, HMP Holme House. Your prison staff have been incredible to work with and helped us sort the mountain of logistics to make sure this project could happen.

Thank you to the random audience member who travelled 200 miles to see the show. I felt like I had made it when you told me that.

Thank you to Sir Ian Mckellen for supporting me, never in a million years would I have believed a legend like yourself would support someone like me. I have your letter framed in my office and will continue to use this anecdote at family parties to keep them from asking me the notorious artists questions of ‘How do you earn a living?’ ‘When are you going to be on TV?’ so thanks for that Sir Ian.

A huge thank you to my mum (who doubles as my dad too) who is my biggest fan. To my mum, who has helped me carry furniture up flights of stairs, driven vans for me, batch cooked me twenty meals in Tupperware when I got my first office so I wouldn’t starve when I set Imagine If up. To my mum, who has bought me flowers for every single show I have been in since I was five years old. To my mum, who doesn’t question any of my life choices but texts me saying “go girl” no matter how crazy the life choice I’ve made is. To my mum, who once made a ten-pound donation to Imagine If and couldn’t figure out how to stop it so has now made £140 worth of donations to us (Cheers mama!) To my mum, who excitedly showed the petrol station cashier my picture in the newspaper and said “That’s my daughter!”. To my mum, thanks for believing in me all this time.

Thank you to: West Yorkshire Playhouse for supporting me on Summer Sublets, Tempus Novo for your insight, Safe Ground for training me in delivering courses in prisons, Cardboard Citizens, Clean Break and National Offender Management Service for the help with my research. Venues North for providing me with a platform, BBC for the opportunities you have given me as a writer, all the reviewers and newspapers that featured the show, the journalists who took the time to come and watch the show and share its truth with the world. Thanks to Iain Bloomfield for the advice, Clare Clarkson for the nomination and Livvy for letting me crash with you.

To my trustees past and present, John Wright, Emma Golding, Felicity Elder, Ruth Fawcett, Andrew Salthouse and Susan Burns – thanks for putting up with me and for your incredible guidance for Imagine If.

Thank you to my incredible agent, Sally Hope Associates, who have been so supportive of my work over the past year. I’ll be much more available now for auditions, I promise 😉

To every single one of my friends and family who have bought a ticket for the ‘You Forgot the Mince’. Thank you for being there.

To every single audience member who watched the play, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you sincerely.

And finally, thank you to the women who have shown me strength over and over again. To the women who have reached out to me and expressed their stories of abuse. You are the bravest people I know. To the women that have nodded along with me in the Q&A’s, the women who have looked at me like they are looking in a mirror, the women who have left during a performance as the story is just too close to home for you, I feel your pain. I see your strength. I honour your fight.

You Forgot the Mince…over and out.

Until I meet any of you again, THANK YOU

Love & light, Chesca xxx

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