Why I want to work with young women and give them a voice

I want to make a brilliant play about young women living in the North East and North West.  I’m from Liverpool and I’ve lived in the North East for 20 years.  When I was 18, I attended a drama scheme in Liverpool and it changed my life.  I got a job, I started to question the world I lived in and I became passionate about the role that drama and theatre can make in people’s lives, especially young people.

This project is especially important to me, as I have a connection with both regions.  I have successfully worked with women and young women in the North East for the past 15 years.  The success, I believe, comes from the fact that there is a commonality between Liverpool (the North West) and the North East.  Both regions have a strong history of heavy industry and resilience. We also have a reputation for intelligence and the ability to use humour to comment on the world we live in.  However both regions have faced challenges, both with unemployment, discrimination and stereotypes.  Now both regions are disproportionally being hit by the austerity measures.  This play will coincide with the general election in 2015.  This is a perfect opportunity to create space for a conversation with young women about the lives they live, challenge their experiences and celebrate their skills and strengths.

I want to listen and hear their views on being young women and living in the North of England.  I want to explore how they perceive themselves and how they feel others perceive them, and what they want from their futures, and what part will they play in making their futures happen.  I want the workshops and the play created to support positive change for those attending the workshops and audiences seeing the play.  I want a huge conversation about being young and to support participation and democracy.  I want to support young women to have equality in their relationships, respect in their schools, work places and communities.  I want to support engagement in the democratic process, and for young women (and men) to have hope and to take control of their futures.

In order for this project to have the desired impact it needs to be the best it can be.  The creative team will work towards making this the best play to come out of the North East, and will form a strong link with the North West, creating solidarity between both regions, facing similar challenges.  I am particularly excited about the prospect of the bursary scheme, supporting new and emerging artists in the North East, young women who might not otherwise have an opportunity to find a job and explore a career that contributes so much to the society they live in.

Fracking Up North is Open Clasp new project.  We will be collaborating with young women’s groups from the North East and North West from Sept 2013 and then throughout the project, which will conclude with a tour in early 2015.  

Workshops will be held during September to December 2013, and then again in February to March 2014.  This play will give a voice to working class young women living up North with the view to bring about personal and social change.  If you have a group who would like to participate please get in touch with Catrina on Catrina@openclasp.plus.com