We have recently, well January, been for some R and D time in Stockton at the ARC to develop ideas for our new show. Here is Cristina’s Blog from that week.
Monday to Friday in Stockton. Monday to Friday in a dingy B&B outside Yarm that smelled of cooked breakfasts and had a dead fish in the pond outside. Monday to Friday talking about youth unemployment and the NHS. How very appropriate. We jogged a lot (we ate a lot so we had to counterbalance that), and inside the haven of the ARC we thought a lot, researched aplenty, shared results, drew mood-boards and dreamt the shows lying flat on our backs.
1 million young people are not in work or in training in the UK. This staggering fact is shocking only when we stop seeing it as a statistic and start engaging with it more than just reading about it on a piece of paper or a laptop screen.
Tangled Feet want to create a piece of outdoor theatre bursting at the seams with energy, which sparks new conversations about the future of the young – not just here, but all over the world – who are often facing quite a rotten start to their working lives.
“I was applying for 10 jobs a day without success. I felt overwhelmed, I started to panic” was a reaction we came across often when researching how unemployed young people felt. We looked at how the notions of both work and the lack of work are represented in stories, fables and legends (The Hardworking Ant and the Lazy Grasshopper, Stone Soup, The Bundle of Sticks, The Farmer and the Boggard – look them up! a fun and wise read) and talked about how the language of unemployment used by the media – ‘getting on the career ladder’, ‘the gap of unemployment’, ‘hanging on by a thread’, ‘scarred generation’, ’dangerous pitfalls of unemployment’, ‘spirals of deprivation’, ‘being caught in a trap’, ‘locked out of the labour market’ - was a useful point of departure for the visuals of the show, which now very likely will feature cherry-pickers amongst others! Laden with information, we started to condense topics and figure out ways in which these stories, feelings and ideas can be recreated though an outdoors show.
Recreating the hope young people start with at the end of their schooling, how quickly this hope can be crushed in the current climate and how huge an impact this reality makes on the rest of their lives. How hope and sustainability are both vital in keeping the lifeblood of the economy flowing.
Huge thanks to the entire ARC team for making our stay so welcome and to all the workshop participants who came from faraway places (Newcastle and Leeds far enough for a one-evening trip!) to fool around Tangled Feet-style!