Hi all! I’d just like to introduce myself; I’m Daisy Williams, currently working with theatr na nÓg as part of the Young Ambassadors team. I got the great opportunity to represent Theatr na nÓg at the ‘On the Edge’ festival in Birmingham this year and had the most amazing time. Whilst I was there the question was posed; ‘How do we as artists create theatre for hope if there isn’t any?’
These were words from Emma Bramley, Artistic Director of ‘All Things Considered’ during a lecture about challenging topics in TYA. I think we can all safely say when watching the news and current affairs, hope can seem a very distant thing. However after exploring the subject, looking at the world through rose tinted glasses isn’t always the best ending. We need to allow young audience to experience the truth and honesty of performances and then be allowed to form their own opinion.
This idea of hope was explored in ‘The Hamilton Complex’. Watching a cast of 13 year old girls perform for almost 2 hours working through a spectrum of emotions from hysteria to deep pain was difficult – as the themes displayed were questionably beyond their years. But more disturbingly was their consciousness of the issues they faced, reflecting the increasingly young age we see children having to grow up.
On the other side of town I then saw ‘The Broke n Beat Collective’ perform a beautifully mapped out show that did offer us hope. Through the use of music, dance and puppetry they opened up the way to the people of London to share their tales. Again, they focused on the harsh reality facing our world’s youth today, but offered a glimmer of escape for those who might feel like they’ve lost their voice.
A highlight from my week was listening to new works of young writers and their response to their time in Birmingham. It was wonderful to hear different people from different cultures and how they felt in Britain. Some beautiful pieces were created, some based on people and some on architecture around the city, which captured the sense of the festival and the city.
Overall my time in Birmingham left me feeling hopeful. Although our ties between different people and countries may be weakened – we as artists can make sure they are maintained through our own unique voice – through performance. You only have to attend an event at ‘On The Edge’ to see all the different faces representing the world and feel united. And the fact that we can all gather together at a ‘Uniquely Scotland’ party, in a theatre in the middle of England and watch Wales play their socks off at the Euros – gives me a lot of hope.