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Meet the CashBack team: Karen Herbison, playwright, director & actor

15 days until CashBack to the Future kicks off in Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire - offering 12-19 year olds the chance to work over four weeks this July with an amazing creative team of artists, musicians and performers!

Karen Herbison is a Renfrewshire-based creative facilitator, playwright, actor, artistic director and company director (Punch Productions). Karen will be leading Performance workshops in Renfrewshire. She has performed her work off-Broadway in Manhattan, at the Edinburgh Fringe and at various west of Scotland arts venues.

As well as her theatre practice, Karen has also had a twenty five year career in social care and is proud of a strong and respected reputation with community organisations. She was very active in the Paisley 2021 bid, has partnered with Outspoken Arts for projects beginning in 2019 and is on the steering group for the local Creative Connections network.

Karen speaks to the Impact Arts blog about her passion for performance and how she adores encouraging others to find their own creativity.

Are you looking forward to kicking off CashBack workshops in Paisley?

I’m really excited about the project and meeting the team of young people in Paisley - the past CashBack summer projects seem to have stirred up a lot of fantastic creativity!

It’s a great opportunity for us all to really work as a team, there in Ferguslie Park, in finding the best way to show our creativity together. I’m hoping the young people and I will learn and inspire each other in bucket-loads!


What can young people expect from your workshops?

Irresistible fun!

It will also be a safe and nurturing place which will celebrate difference and uniqueness. We’ll be dipping our toes into several forms of creativity including devising, writing, scripting, sketches, scenes, monologues, poetry, physical theatre, performance skills and approaches, as well as all the different styles of performance, showcasing and theatre.

No experience is at all needed or expected. We’ll start (as the song says) at the very beginning. This allows those new to it all, to find out different things about themselves or for those with some experience to re-explore existing interests and skills.


What techniques will you be looking to pass on to the group?

Growth in confidence, self-belief, finding personal creativity and how best to express that.

There will be improvisation, interpretation of existing text, natural, comedic, dramatic, characterisation, how to use the whole self in performance. We will be exploring the different roles in theatre – all the elements that make it work. In other words, not everyone needs to perform to be an equally vital part of that creative wheel.

Then we’ll be taking time to reach our potential with our showcase items. And, most imprortantly, we'll be daring to dream!


How would you encourage young people to get involved?

The most important element is to first make sure we all have and feel we are coming to that safe, nurturing environment each day and that it makes each one of us feel we can be ourselves. That encouragement, support and celebration is flowing free so that we can all take on measured challenges. If it’s mostly relaxed and encouraging, we can achieve loads with a whole pile of fun and laughter.


Cashback to the Future is funded by the Scottish Government's CashBack for Communities initiative, which backs projects supporting disadvantaged young people. Additional funding and support comes from National Museums Scotland, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Glasgow Kelvin College.

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