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Meet the CashBack team: Martyn Dempsey, Actor & Theatre-maker

40 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.

We're putting the spotlight on our artist team, and we're delighted to announce that actor, writer and theatre-maker Martyn Dempsey is signed up to deliver Performance workshops!

Martyn has been involved in a range of productions which have toured both nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Martyn specialises in actor-musician work new writing, devised performance, comedy and children’s theatre. You can find out more about his work at

Martyn co-ordinated last year’s CashBack to the Future programme in Edinburgh, leading 60 young people to put on an electrifying final showcase and exhibition in the National Museum of Scotland. Here he speaks about what young people can expect when signing up this year.

We're looking for young people to sign up for CashBack to the Future in Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire. Find out more here.

How was your experience leading CashBack to the Future in Edinburgh last year?

I had a great time co-ordinating the Cashback to The Future project last year, which I found to be a hugely inspiring way to spend my summer. I loved working with an amazing cross section of artists from a variety of different forms and seeing all of that coming together, as well as being amazed by the creativity of the young people on the programme. It was a real buzz having such a platform as National Museum of Scotland to develop this work within too.


What were some of the most memorable moments?

The final showcase was hugely memorable for me. It was incredible to take the space in the National Museum of Scotland and really see the young people from the programme owning the space.

My major highlight, however, was just the energy around the building over the four weeks of the programme, and seeing all the work come together in all the different art forms. It’s always inspiring in the run up to the final show seeing every possible space being utilised for creative purposes, whether it’s in the rooms in the corridors and the support that the participants give each other between the art forms.

I love the fusion of work that gets created through working with Impact Arts, who I’ve always loved returning to work for over the last 10 years and from which I’ve been hugely inspired in my own creative practice.


What can young people expect from your performance workshops?

I’ll be developing participants skills in performance working through improvisation, comedy skills, writing, and physical theatre work as we look to create extended devised theatre pieces.

My workshops centre upon participants developing their own creative voices, building the ensemble and having fun. Over the years I’ve worked extensively as an actor, performer and theatre-maker, as well as working in comedy and at leading drama training institutions, so I'll really be looking to help participants develop their craft for the future.

Ultimately, I just want to fully unleash participants' potential in performing and find some new stories to tell.


How would you encourage young people to sign up? What can young people get out of working with the CashBack artists?

Cashback to The Future is a unique opportunity to get the chance to work with leading artists in a variety of art forms and a great opportunity to develop skills in the performing arts. All the artists are leading experts in their practice so there's a huge amount to pick up from them.

As importantly, it’s a way to connect with other young people in an active, inclusive, social environment and play off each other’s creativity. It’s a really great way to spend four weeks and hopefully can be the start of developing skills that will stay with you for life, as well as making connections with other young people from the Edinburgh area.


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 and the Heritage Lottery Fund's Kick the Dust and Young Roots funds.

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