Therapeutic Music Sessions
I’ve shared music and poetry performances and sessions in care centres, homes and hospitals across Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire including Leicester Royal Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester General Hospital, Mill Lodge and Church Farm at Skylarks. The power of music is profound and there have been so many special moments during the sessions. During one of our Mythm performances of dreamy atmospheric music, an Italian lady with dementia stood up, walked over to us and started to belt out Italian inspired opera. In another session, one man who had been shy and quiet for the entire session stood bolt upright and belted out the chorus to the classic ‘Day-O’ by Harry Belafonte. I believe that music has the power to transform our reality and inspire visceral, human connections.
Leicester Pride Festival
I worked with Leicester LGBT Centre’s First Out group: “a social and support group for young people aged 13-15 who identify anywhere under the LGBT+ umbrella or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity”. Together, we concocted ideas for a creative space to be installed and shared outdoors as part of Leicester Pride Festival. Over the sessions, we co-created a patchwork unity quilt, rainbow collage tree and a selfie frame. For the festival day itself, “Los Queerdos” was a colourfully decorated, safe space full of heartwarming activities including: rainbow body and face painting, acoustic performers, sheet music sing-a-longs, musical jams, selfie opportunities and the ‘positivitree’ where people were invited to add their own positive mantras.
Spark Festival Takeover
Commissioned by The Spark Arts for Children as Artistic Director, I worked closely with two groups of 7-10 year olds at Mayflower and Falcons primary schools, facilitating their ideas to be programmed as activities for a Spark Family Takeover event at Curve Theatre, Leicester. There were sound journeys and storytelling in the SEN Moon Beach, poetry, live musicians and DJ at the Beach Front, a growing postcard mural called the Portal to Anywhere on the mezzanine, a dressing up experience, hundreds of strung-up paper aeroplanes and walkabout performers. Rationale (written inspired by the children):
The theatre is a captivating cabin continuously unfurling a plethora of tales, journeys and locations. Spark Takeover will extend the theatre to expand the lands, sands and seas across the rest of the ‘world’ of the building. Escape the outside mid-Feb greys and explore; take a holiday for your mind. Relax in curiosity; burrow, delve, savour and downright recline. Somewhere to go elsewhere.
Think of it more than a theatre, imagine it a portal to anywhere.
House of Verse
Inspired by an interactive poetry exhibition I staged for my final degree project, I invented House of Verse: a creative events business providing local artists regular platforms to share their work. Home to live music, art, comedy, spoken word, rap, dance, DJing and more, House of Verse events created a warm and welcoming lounge for people to socialise, relax and be entertained. Over 5 years, I organised 75 variety shows in 34 venues supporting 370+ artists entertaining 14,146+ live audience members. For more information, click here: House of Verse.
Brightsparks: Arts in Health
I facilitated arts and theatre sessions with Brightsparks: an Arts in Mental Health group organised by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. Representing House of Verse, I managed and delivered this multi-artform project for two years running which comprised a course of workshops culminating in a performance showcase held at the Attenborough Arts Centre. Participants shared creative pieces composed of comedy, theatre, music, poetry, songs, games and dance. As well as delivering, I managed a small team of workshop facilitators to help run the creative sessions.
Working with two groups of young people – one SEN school and one community group – our Emerge Festival project was centred around young voices. Commissioned by Mighty Creatives and working in collaboration with Carise ZM, we delivered six months of multi-disciplinary workshops including drama, music, poetry, arts, crafts and dance. We supported the young people to lead and guide every part of the journey towards creating a festival, from event ideas to marketing, artist liaison to logistics and beyond. They concocted incredible ideas like “Shakesqueer, an Elizabethan drag show”, a flash mob Shakespearean insult battle and Shakespearean olympics. For more info, click here: Emerge Festival.
Living Legacies: Leicester Clock Tower
I worked with Leicester LGBT Centre’s ‘T Party’: “a social and support group for young people aged between 13 and 18 who identify anywhere under the trans umbrella or are questioning their gender identity” as part of Living Legacies: a project with Pedestrian retelling Leicester’s Heritage, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Focussing on the clock tower, I facilitated weekly writing sessions with the group. Together we concocted and assembled collaborative scribings into a spoken word piece about the clock tower which they nominated me to perform in the video above!
I have delivered on Pedestrian’s Concept project with different groups including young people from the LGBT centre, looked after children and young people with SEND. The above video is an interview with young people from Leicester LGBT Centre who took part in Concept. I facilitated lyric writing and creative music sessions to support them to compose music about superhero cats, transitioning and a rap about America.
“Concept is based around a week-long studio residency with an ethos of artists and young people as collaborators and co-producers of an original EP with a shared concept, character or theme. Young people write original lyrics, make original music and record their own tracks. They then continue their artistic development over the following weeks as a bridge to regular participation. The project will be hosted at venues in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.”
For five years, I have been employed as a freelance tutor for Pedestrian charity delivering projects spanning music, arts/crafts, writing, career development and business to diverse, vulnerable groups incl. looked after children, young carers, vulnerable adults, SEND, young offenders, behaviour difficulties, hard to reach areas and more.
“Pedestrian seek to pioneer the potential of communities experiencing barriers to progression, building core skills and broadening horizons to promote a vision of a collaborative and inclusive and inclusive society.”
Soft Touch Arts
For a year, I co-facilitated ‘Noteable’ weekly music sessions at Soft Touch Arts with vulnerable, young girls. Supporting a range of exploration into musicality, live instruments including drum kit, percussion, ukulele, guitar, digital production and lyric writing, these sessions gave space for therapeutic expression as well as being socially enjoyable. At the end of year showcase at The Shed, as well as hosting the evening, I orchestrated a live percussion ensemble and a rap duet.
“An award winning Leicestershire charity, established in 1986, we use arts, media and music activities to make positive life changes for disadvantaged young people by supporting them to develop creative, social and employability skills. We believe creativity gives young people more positive choices in their lives.”
As part of Art Reach: Journeys Festival International and Belarus Free Theatre New Writing Programme for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Writers, I worked with a group to support them creating written work to be shared at a showcase at Curve Theatre, Leicester. They shared stories, songs, poetry and dynamic theatre; it was a truly unforgettable, illuminating and deeply moving experience.
House of Circus
For 15 months, I co-led “House of Circus” weekly, open-skills circus sessions at The Y Theatre, Leicester for the community engaging a multitude of locals including mental health participants, homeless youths and the wider circus community. The club’s aims: wellbeing, community, play, improve coordination and focus. Kit stock included juggling balls, clubs, diabolos, poi, devil sticks, hula hoops, a tightrope, unicycles. We also delivered seasonal masterclasses including humorous bikes, club juggling, contact juggling, and acro-yoga. The project was kindly funded by Wellbeing Matters Fund c/o University of Leicester & Brightsparks (Arts in Health Group).