This weekend, more than 300 people attended two performances of the exceptional EastSide Story, a new performance piece devised by more than 20 young people from across Waltham Forest.
The talented cast involved in EastSide Story took part in an intensive and immersive collaborative process with local organisations Raw Academy and Catalyst in Communities (CIC) over four months to create the show, as well as working with the team at Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019.
Stage one involved intensive group and 1:1 transformative youth coaching delivered by Robin Lockhart and Bob Singha. They worked with young people on two local Waltham Forest estates in January 2019, enabling the group to bond and find the self-belief required to make a stage show from scratch by April!
The next stage was a collaborative co-creation of the framework for the show. Through a process of sharing stories, weekly drama and singing workshops, and masterclasses from local artists including Talvin Singh and Lemzi, they created the show now known as EastSide Story. Sammy Edmonds and Mark Bagnall led on all the performance work and Delroy Murray ran the music and singing workshops.
All this hard work culminated in two live performances last weekend –a friends and family matinee, and a sold out premiere evening performance – at Chingford Assembly Hall. And the story doesn’t end there. The cast (and other young people from the borough) will have access to on-going group and 1:1 coaching by the CIC team through until 2020. There are also plans to develop the project further with more local workshops and additional performances throughout the London Borough of Culture 2019 year so watch this space…
Commenting this weekend’s performance, Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, commented: “Saturday’s performance of EastSide Story was exceptional. Watching this group of young people from our borough demonstrate their creativity, courage and talent was nothing short of inspirational. The project was created over the course of four months as part of the Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture year, and it’s exactly what the year stands for – highlighting the talent of our residents and enabling people to discover the power of culture and use it to tell their own stories, in their own words. I can’t wait to see what they will do next!”