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Workshops bring youngsters together for theatrical collaboration in Stowmarket

PUBLISHED: 12:03 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 29 September 2020

Karen Goddard,  producer of Stow and Tell, wants to enable Stowmarket's youth to tell its own story on stage Photo: Karen Goddard

Karen Goddard, producer of Stow and Tell, wants to enable Stowmarket's youth to tell its own story on stage Photo: Karen Goddard

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In the heart of theatrical lockdown Suffolk producer Karen Goddard has found a way for theatre professionals and local communities to come together to create a special project called Stow and Tell.

Playwright Martha Loader is looking to turn the true stories of Stowmarket's youngsters into compelling drama Photo: Karen GoddardPlaywright Martha Loader is looking to turn the true stories of Stowmarket's youngsters into compelling drama Photo: Karen Goddard

The new theatre-making project, backed by the Arts Council, is giving young people in rural Suffolk a platform to tell their stories.

Local theatre-maker Karen Goddard and playwright Martha Loader have teamed-up with ‘The Together Project’ at The Mix in Stowmarket to offer 15 – 24-year-olds the opportunity to take part in a groundbreaking new drama project, which they can shape as it is produced.

Karen said: “This funding will allow us to develop a script focussing on what it’s like to grow up in a rural community. Young peoples’ lives are often depicted on TV and on stage, but it is usually in an urban context. I think young people living in rural areas deserve to have their stories told.

“You get comedy and radio drama like ‘This Country’ and ‘The Archers’, both good in their own way, but I want people to take these kids’ opinions and concerns seriously – to sit up and realise that living in a village or small town like Stowmarket can be far from idyllic. There are significant challenges.”

She said that thanks to funding from Arts Council England, ‘Stow and Tell’ will be able to invite young people to take part in a series of free weekly theatre-making workshops at The Mix during October, November and December.

Participants will get hand-on experience of every aspect of theatre production from writing, researching, developing and marketing and finally staging a pilot performance of a new play.

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The project will provide participants with a fun and fascinating ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience of producing a new piece of theatre. It will also offer young people the chance to learn some important transferable work skills that will help their chances of future employment.

‘Together Project’ Youth Worker Chloe Davis said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for young people to have a platform to voice what really matters to them. It is also an amazing chance for young people to gain important life skills, as well as an insight into theatre production and the vast and varied employment opportunities within the arts industry.”

Karen Goddard said that she was especially pleased that funding for ‘Stow and Tell’ will also provide employment for a group of young, professional freelance creative artists.

“Freelance actors, writers and theatre directors are having a really hard time at the moment. So, I’m pleased that the grant I’ve been awarded is enabling me to offer not only a great creative learning experience for a group of young people, but also the chance for Ipswich-based playwright Martha Loader to develop a new script and for director Scott Hurran and a fantastic group of three young actors to bring her ideas to life. All this has only been possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, so I am hugely grateful for that.”

Hedley Swain, area director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We’re really pleased to support ‘Stow and Tell’ thanks to National Lottery funding. It is really important that young people have the opportunity to develop and share their creative voices, but especially those who are vulnerable and might not otherwise have that chance. And that is exactly what this project is all about.”

The ‘Stow and Tell’ project is supported by The Mix and Suffolk County Council, in partnership with the John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts, Eastern Angles, Bury Theatre Royal, and The Garage in Norwich.

Martha Loader is an Ipswich-based playwright, is also co-founder of Tusk Theatre Company, and has worked with Karen Goddard on the Ipswich ‘Women’s Voices Women’s Votes’ Festival.

The workshops will be held at The Mix every Thursday from 5 – 7pm from October 29th onwards. For more information on how to sign-up for the weekly workshops contact: Together@themixstowmarket.co.uk


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