Poetry, tales and sketches inspired by Edinburgh's ghosts and urban legends!
Edinburgh is historically a hotbed of creative genius, with a cultural impact spreading far beyond the city’s borders. What happens when you take a group of creative young people from the city and ask them to come up with their own short stories, poems and drama pieces inspired by the rich environment and the urban legends within?
Creative Pathways Edinburgh is a ten-week project run by Impact Arts which works with young people who are currently unemployed, inspiring them to produce their own creative writing while offering one-to-one support with job-hunting, CV writing and interview skills.
The team, based at the Assembly Roxy in the city centre have been learning techniques in scriptwriting, character creation, comedy sketches, poetry and spoken word performance.
Our lead tutor, writer and dramatist Rosanna Hall, has been delivering workshops to get the group thinking about the city, its societal issues and their own personal experiences in order to fuel their creative fires and produce original work.
For example, working from themes of prejudice and stereotypes, the group have been learning automatic writing techniques in order to create ideas and expand on them in a short period of time - sometimes just a matter of minutes.
The team also explored prejudice through building and designing masks – the inside of the mask being inspired by how prejudice feels, and the outside by how prejudices are formed by others - before using these as inspiration for spoken word poetry.
Anna, a participant, says: “It was fun getting to express ourselves through masks. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll use them in a photoshoot and in our final performance.
“Mine wasn’t based on emotions, but on a character named (OC) Ruin, who wears a plain white mask covering 85% of her face due to trauma. She doesn’t want people to see her face and hate it, despite her actually being very beautiful."
Other participants made masks about how they feel when they experience prejudice and what it’s like to go into a job interview. This aligns with a central theme of the project, as close employability support continues alongside the programme's creative side.
Another powerful source of inspiration has been the Assembly Roxy building itself, and the group have researched characters and stories that haunt the building, while creating some of their own.
Lady Glenorchy, whose name is carved in stone above the main door, has been a source of intrigue. The group have been considering what kind of character she might have been, writing diary entries for her and considering how this might fit into their final showcase.
Other scripts have been set in the areas around Edinburgh the participants are from and the ghost stories and urban legends that surround them. The writing produced has been extremely varied in genre and style with some participants creating everything from comedy and mystery tales to steampunk fantasy!
The group are in preparation for their final exhibition - entitled Everyone has a Story to Tell - which will showcase their written work and include dramatic readings. It will take place at the Assembly Roxy on Thursday 15th February 2018 between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
In the meantime, the group will be going on inspiration trips to get more ideas for their work, learning more about the technical side of writing and working on their SQA units in Employability to help them with their next steps as the project comes to a close.
The project is funded by Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund Stages 2 and 3 and Inspiring Scotland.
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