Stacey Sampson at Hall Cross Doncaster

On behalf of Hive, actor, writer and facilitator, Stacey Sampson recently worked with students at Hall Cross School in Doncaster. The group engaged in a mix of practical drama and writing exercises and Stacey spoke about her journey to being an actor, writer and everything in between! From joining a local theatre group as a child that led to her first professional gig as a teenager, to how she developed into writing for theatre, and wrote her first novel.

“It was great having Stacey come in. She stressed the importance of writing being about building from the ground up, and about memories being the best things a writer has. They are just stories waiting to be told.” Ciah, Hall Cross Student

“For me, finding a group of like-minded people was magic. I started youth theatre when I was 13 and discovered not only a ton of new friends (still my best buds 20 years later!) but also came into contact with professionals who put their heart and soul into supporting us, imparted incredible skills, and made sure we heard about every opportunity going to further our dreams. There was never pressure to be the next big thing, only to go at our own pace, hone our crafts and most of all, have fun. I became aware that careers in the arts were accessible – Even to me! And regardless of who decided to pursue that path, we all gained irreplaceable confidence to take with us into the world. Organisations like my youth theatre, and like Hive (Doncaster Young Writers) can be life-changing. You might not know it at the time, but such rich experiences and relationships forged in brilliantly creative surroundings set off sparks that burn long into your future.” Stacey Sampson

Thanks to Mike Dougherty, Head of Performing Arts for helping to arrange this visit.
If you’re a young person (14-19) in Doncaster, or at Hall Cross, and you like writing…join us! Free and relaxed sessions fortnightly. More info.

Stacey Sampson – actor, writer and facilitator

Stacey Sampson is an actor, writer and facilitator born and bred in Rotherham. She has worked in theatre, film and television for twenty years, and is known for her role as Jennifer in Channel 4’s This Is England series (’88 and ’90). Stacey is an Associate Artist with Third Angel and several other companies and her plays have toured nationally to theatres and non-traditional spaces.

She also specialises in collaborative writing and regularly works with schools, libraries, young offender programmes, mental health and homelessness organisations to create bespoke scripts and performances. Her children’s fiction has won the Mslexia Novel Competition, a Northern Writers’ Award and the Arvon Award.

Ideas of Britishness

Emerging young writers from Hive are currently working with writer Desiree Reynolds on a set of commissioned poems, for filmmaker Eelyn Lee, exploring their ideas of Britishness and identity. A selection of the work with be featured in a film Eelyn is making for FURD (Football Unites Racism Divides), exploring these ideas through poetry and interviews. The film will premiere at the Showroom on Tues 12th March, and will be circulated in schools and community settings to get people discussing the topics raised in different ways.

In partnership with Eelyn Lee & Furd (Football Unites Racism Divides)

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire

From Chorus to Verse: Reimagining Quirkus

From Chorus to Verse: Reimagining Quirkus
By Lydia Allison – Young Poet in Residence at Darts – Doncaster Community Arts

Before visiting the exhibition I had an idea of the values of the Quirky Choir, but entering the space brought everything very much to life. Three walls covered in bright photographs, interspersed with ornate metal ‘Q’s which each made a different sound, layered with beautiful recordings of the choir singing as well.

It was joyful to move around the room and see the expressions of the choir at different points in the creative process. I hadn’t realised before that many of the songs were originals written by and for the choir themselves. Moving up to the mezzanine floor I settled in to watch the documentary. I found this especially moving and very inspirational.

The poet Ian McMillan plays a major role in the choir and the songwriting; I was particularly interested in his idea of the ‘drawer of memory’. He described how this can mean different things to different people, and how the choir collaborated to make this song.

When I enter a space like this I have two closely wound strands of thought: my own writing and workshop activities. The drawer of memory sparked both. I started by creating a guided meditation script which would take us away from the exhibition and towards an internal imaginative world.

Trialing this fantasy I surprised myself by having a clear idea about the look of the drawers, but a distinct lack of the looked-for thing.

“Nothing in that drawer except for flowered paper, its repeating pattern of heads and stems varied only at yellowing edges and corners with small folds or tears. I had been looking for something but I can’t now put my mind on it.”

When I ran the activity with the group I was interested by the multiple experiences of the imagined space being nightmarish, something I felt I was edging close to as well (perhaps this is the difference between a room of writers and a room of singers!) This fed into the development of my own piece. While memories can be held by objects or songs, they may similarly be lost. I decided to imply unreality and unease by using descriptions at odds with themselves.

“I’m becoming a person who scares me. Look at where I am: this tiny enormous room in an up-kept, decaying stately home end-terrace. The flat bay window looks out on a postage stamp garden stretching acres of hedge as far as I can see. The cheap drawers slide ply on ply, glide shut with a soft-close click.”

I have chosen to present this as a prose poem, partly to contrast the choir’s original, and partly to allow the reading to run-on, maintaining pace and that dreamlike, falling-through quality. I did choose, however, to echo some musical features by bringing back repetition of phrases at the end, as a sort of refrain.

“I had been looking. Sun on dust motes in the dead of this winter night. The flowered paper. Something gone.”

Memory is significant to the choir and to my personal reaction to the exhibition. Music and song can hold an extremely strong and comfortable (even stubborn) place in our memories. I surprise myself how many hundreds of lyrics I know by heart, just as soon as the music begins to play.

This has also been a starting point for my writing around the exhibition. I have tried to use music and lyrics in different ways, for instance, to add texture to a narrative and add to the setting.

“I was trying to tell you something. Love and Happiness hissing tinny from headphones turned up full”

Finally, although this exhibition lent itself to personal reflection and memory, a significant aspect for me was the feel of shared experience and community. I ran an activity with the group where we shared favourite lyrics and wrote a contrasting response to them. This allowed us to all take something significant or serious and play with the meaning, giving our own voices a place, still linked absolutely with our relationship to song.

“There are people I’ll remember
all my life, though some have changed.
There are others I’ll forget
through sheer effort. Gone, living
only in a corner of my mind. OK. Not
forgotten, just put away. A lyric
that that comes back to me
every time that music plays.”

For exhibition details, visit here

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future open to the public!

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

Quirkus Exhibition – Soundscapes & New Found Words

Quirkus Exhibition & Workshop: Soundscapes & New Found Words
By Lydia Allison – Young Poet in Residence at Darts – Doncaster Community Arts

Quirkus (n.) /’kwɜkɘs/ 1. as in /quer.cus/ plants of the northern temperate zone; oaks from shrubs to great trees, as in “great acorns begat small oaks”. 2. as in /quirk.us/ this quirky choir, this song, this raising of voices, this blending of music and words. 3. as in quirky + us. Together and different. 4. as in quirky + circus. This theatre of unexplored ideas. 5. as in together and growing / as in join us / as in / 6. come in come in come in…

On 7th February I had the pleasure of running the first of three writing workshops based around The Point’s first exhibition of 2019 – a celebration of the Quirky choir’s 20th anniversary, with a lively group of adult writers at The Point.

The Exhibition
I knew of the choir and was eager to learn more about it. The exhibition sits in the lower gallery space and spreads up to the mezzanine where a documentary plays showcasing different contributors describing the choir and the various doors it’s opened. I found this extremely moving, particularly Ian McMillan’s fond descriptions of Janet Wood, and her open gestures embodying the general inclusivity of the group.

The photography on display is alive with personality and song, including images capturing the choir singing, rehearsing, and writing. Some of the photos are complemented by lyric extracts, and clips of traditional and ‘Quirky’ songs being played as well.

There are also a number of metal ‘Q’s which you can touch to make a sound – ranging from unusual sound effects to harmonious tones. I personally had a lot of fun trying out sounds, and combining some sounds to make my own kind of music with the choir!

The Workshop
We explored the gallery together making more combinations of sound, as well as starting to tap into the significance music can have to memory:

When I hear that song …
… “on the radio I explore life in a world of love and not what brought on the pain of 41 years […] back then I didn’t know any better, but now I have to turn it off when I hear it.”  Phil Maginn
… “I know I’m alive. The gentle hum reverberating through my body, my blood flowing in rhythmic pulses as my foot taps of its own accord […] this is it, this is life. Sing as one.” Louise Kerkoff
… “happy memories do appear, of joyful tears, of fatherhood as I but cradle my new life creation and dreams of what is to come […] how life’s wonderful” Neil Foulstone

The documentary inspired further writing activities, one of which was based on Ian MacMillan’s near-manifesto explored in the documentary “If you can’t read music, come in. If you haven’t sung before, come in. If you don’t think you can sing, come in.” We thought of further invitations, addressing ourselves or loved ones:

“If you can’t, won’t, work at your comfort while playing the piano, come in. No-one has to be an expert. The secret is to enjoy.” Mal Perkins
“If you can’t swim, come in, the water’s warm […] catch that wave!” Gareth Pendry
“If you can’t come in to socialise with other people, have a day off to an introverted dreamland […] lose yourself for a few moments” Sima Sha

We also worked together on making our own new words and definitions, based on the fascinating title of the exhibition. This led to a number of great insights into the significance and hidden meanings in everyday language, as well as some fantastic new blends, such as:

“Thive: a derivative of being alive and thinking.” Louise Kerkoff
“Thinkberries.” Rosie
“Pashappysion.” Phil Maginn

There is a strong feeling of community, inclusivity, and creativity surrounding this exhibition, and I can’t wait to be back again next week for another morning of writing and sharing at The Point!

For exhibition details, visit here

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future open to the public!

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

Bill Viola exhibition & workshop (Young Poet in Residence, Darts)

Write up: Bill Viola exhibition & workshop at The Point
By Lydia Allison – Young Poet in Residence at Darts – Doncaster Community Arts

 Bill Viola shows us what love and grief and a whole life could look like – Lydia Allison

The Point, home to Darts (Doncaster Community Arts) was host to a Bill Viola exhibition from September to December 2018. The three works included as part of the installation ‘The Passions’, included an ongoing series of small and intimate pieces. Viola’s common themes of combining simple representations with deep universal experiences were the centre of the mood here.

It was an ideal setting for me personally as a poet and a writing facilitator as I am interested in these small details which reveal much of both artist and the subject. After exploring the exhibition and starting drafts of my own creative responses, I led my first Young Poet in Residence workshop at The Point with members of the Creative Directions adult group, who enjoy a wide range of creative activities in the building. Some members of the group came brimming with ideas and poetry they had written previously, whereas for others it was their first attempt at creative writing for many years. For all of us, visiting the exhibition space elicited empathy and feeling which acted as fuel for the writing activities which took place after. I was astounded by the quality and emotional weight each individual managed to instill in their small pieces in the space of a single workshop.

There was some stunning work written as you’ll hear and read. Here’s Mal Perkins with a very moving poem called Photo of Skegness

Kerry

You’re standing in the garden holding a Barbie Doll.
Behind you is a small tree. It’s warm and the sun is shining.
In this photo your blonde hair is straight.

You are wearing a long dress.
You look over to me and say
‘Dean, you’re quiet, make a noise!’
(Dean Lisle, workshop participant)

I was immediately drawn to Catherine’s Room. Each of the five screens presented a different time of day, and season, with the same figure inhabiting each of the rooms. I was transfixed by the first image’s yoga routine, and started thinking about the small routines we all perform day to day; how similar and how different our experiences may be.

Different members of the group were drawn to the various periods of Catherine’s day.

… I light the candles, to you my lord, memories whirling in my head, like a tornado rocks the earth.

Your message I wait to hear and strength to see out another day, my mind like an express train that just goes round and round, oh lord, do you hear my thoughts, as they pass to you, or will you leave me in the darkness … (Neil Foulstone)

It was interesting to see how individuals put themselves into the pieces. In Four Hands the audience is presented with four isolated pairs of hands, clasping and moving slowly. My immediate thoughts went to the idea of holding hands and the sensation of the movement. Members of the group reacted differently. Viola presents three generations: a young boy father, mother, and grandmother. An older member of the group was immediately drawn to the older pair of hands; their age being the feature which stood out to him the most. Another commented that the hands made her think of pain – due to a muscular condition she would not be able to move her hands like that. This highlighted how different our physical experiences are and how significant this shapes our perception.

Surrender can be seen simply as a pair of moving portraits, but goes through distortion when the subjects submerge their heads in water, showing us that we may have been seeing a surface reflection of the pair. The group’s individual translations of the exhibition were fascinating to read, and offered a similar pleasure to being in the exhibition itself. Some shared a powerful moment from their own history, others opened up a simple image to show the emotion contained under the surface.

Looking back through the work produced and my own writing, I get a sense of timelessness and time-fixedness. The moving pictures act as a kind of proof, a moving representation of what was, whilst also highlighting the nature of change. Each movement is followed by another, and each day moves us further from the person we were then.

It shows who I am
or, more correctly, who I was at that moment.
I’m her, but she’s not me.
She hasn’t lived through what I have yet.
But she will.
The future is hers.
I know, because I’ve lived it.        
(Louise Kerkhoff)

Poetry wise to support the workshops, we looked at various poems including work by Billy Collins and Margaret Atwood. So participants commented that some of the styles were new to them and they were pleasantly surprised to see how far-reaching poetry can be.

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future open to the public!

Gallery photos courtesy of James Mulkeen

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

Culture Cinema

Young Poet in Residence at Darts

Hive, in partnership with Doncaster Arts, is delighted to announce Lydia Allison as the first Young Poet in Residence at The Point (home of Doncaster Arts).

As part of the Hatch programme, Lydia will be running creative writing workshops and writing poems in response to the exhibitions programme. She will work with adult groups who use the building regularly and open sessions up to the general public. (Any interests and abilities are welcome so if it sounds of interest, get in touch!)

Doncaster Young Writers, based at The Point, will also get involved, and the residency will end with a publication showcasing some of the work from the project, and contributors will be invited to come and read their work at a special launch in the gallery space.

Helen Jones, Assistant Director at Darts says: We’re excited about working with Lydia, seeing what she creates herself and how she inspires participants to explore creative writing stimulated by our exhibitions.

Lydia says: I’m really excited for this opportunity! It’s fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to all the creative possibilities that will come from the exhibitions.  

Lydia Allison is a Sheffield-born poet, writing facilitator and creative mentor. She is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School (MA) and the Writing Squad.  Her work had appeared both online and in print, including in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, PN Review, Now Then, Ink Sweat & Tears, United Jotters, and PUSH. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers. Her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. Follow her on twitter @LydiarAllison

If you’re interested and an adult attending a group at Darts, let your group leader or Darts reception team know. Or look out for workshop announcements in the near future!

Gallery photos courtesy of James Mulkeen

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)

Hatch Reads Scheme

Hive is offering a number of Free Reads & Feedback to young writers [17 to 30 years] for fiction, script and poetry manuscripts/portfolios who are at a stage where they have a specific goal for sending their work out into the world (such as particular submissions, awards, or competitions).

There is no current deadline, but we recommend you contact us by the end of June 2019 as there is a finite limit to the support on offer. The time and feedback we can give will depend on interest.

What we’ll look at if you’re granted a free read: We’re open to reading anything from a number of short stories, flash fiction, or poems, to up to 10k words of a novel or collection, or 20 pages of script.

Eligibility: Open to young people in South Yorkshire, aged between 17 and 30, with a priority given to those who have a specific, clear goal, and who have not previously received one to one support via Hive, or who haven’t yet been able to benefit from Hive activities.

What you need to send to be considered:

  1. a sample of your work (up to 3 A4 pages of prose or 3 poems)
  2. & up to 300 words on: your interests, experiences and goals as a writer, and your specific reason for getting in touch – what you want feedback on and why, and your plans for that work or advice you are seeking. Also send an idea of the quantity of work you’d like us to look at in full (e.g. 15 poems/3 chapters of a novel)
  3. your full name, date of birth, and address
    Send to hatchread@hivesouthyorkshire.com

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire

Building Brave New Worlds

Building Brave New Worlds – with novelist & historical fiction writer Tim Leach 
Hive Young Writers’ Day
Sat 9th Feb 2019 – 10.30am – 4 pm | Venue: Sheffield Institute of Education, Charles Street, S1 2ND
Open to young people aged 14 – 25 years from across South Yorkshire

After his fascinating world-building taster at last year’s festival left everyone wanting more, historical fiction writer Tim Leach returns for our first young writers’ day of the year. If you want to get your teeth into a day of exploring the worlds you’re developing or are yet to create, join Tim to flesh your ideas into more detail, injecting life and depth into uncharted territory.

Building a world is only the beginning – the next challenge is making that world live, breathe, and move. In this day of workshops and exercises, you’ll look at how to go beyond a basic idea for a world, how to plan, structure, and draft larger projects through pacing, flow, and an understanding of the shape of stories.  

This writers’ day is for young writers of any experience with an interest in world-building fiction. You might have a world on the go, you might be looking for inspiration to create a new one!

Tim Leach is a writer of historical fiction. His first novel The Last King of Lydia was published by Atlantic Books in 2013 and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and a sequel, The King and the Slave, was published in 2014. He says he fell into historical fiction by accident, and would be happy to tell you how.

Tim is a graduate of the Warwick University Writing Programme, where he now teaches fiction on the undergraduate course. His latest book, Smile of the Wolf, was published by Head of Zeus in summer 2018, and was named as a book of the year in both The Times and The Sunday Times. www.tim-leach.co.uk

Tickets: only £5/£3 concessions, including refreshments (but not lunch)
Discounts: Hive is particularly keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.

Booking: To book a place on this Writers’ Day, email kate@hivesouthyorkshire.com
Where: The Institute of Education, Charles Street Sheffield. This is just off Arundel Gate and Arundel Street, 5 minutes from Sheffield train & bus stations.
Someone will be there to greet people at the reception from 10.15am. Charles Street Building info here
Google map info here: 133 Charles Street, Sheffield S1 2ND
…..
Hive Young Writers’ Days
Hive Young Writers’ Days are a chance for young writers, whatever your interest and ability, to develop your writing with support from professional writers, while meeting other young writers, and getting involved in the Hive young writers’ network.

Hive Young Writers’ Days are open to young people 14 to 25 (this changes sometimes). If you don’t quite fit, but you’d like to come, get in touch with: kate@hivesouthyorkshire.com)
For more about our writers’ days click here.

Supported by Sheffield Hallam University Faculty of Development & Society

Spoken word & poetry workshop Burngreave

Free spoken word & poetry workshops – for young people 12-15yrs
in Burngreave and nearby areas of Sheffield
10.30-12.30pm fortnightly Saturdays
start 2nd Feb 2019 at Burngreave Library (16th Feb 2nd March etc..)

All welcome. Relaxed and fun. Poetry, beats, rhythm, lyrics whatever you’re into! Run by writer & singer, Danae Wellington (Nyara Collective) for young people (12-15yrs) in the Burngreave and surrounding areas of Sheffield. Either drop in the library or email Danae nyaracreativecollective@gmail.com

Also look out for free February Film Fridays cinema for young people & workshops for 14-19s from Nyara Creative Collective
Facebook: /NyaraCreative Instagram: /NyaraCreative

Download flyer here. Find out more about the project here.
Nyara Creative Collective supported by Hive South Yorkshire, SOAR & Burngreave Library

The Burngreave culture cinema and creative writing workshops come comes to you courtesy of young poet and singer, Danae Wellington (Nyara Creative Collective), working in partnership with Hive South Yorkshire’s Hatch programme, Brungreave Library (Soar), and Cinema For All.