Could you first introduce yourself for the reader?
My name is James Gillam and I am the Director of Fabula Arts, a Creative Arts organisation for young people based in Northamptonshire.
What happens at the organisation?
The aim of Fabula Arts is to provide opportunities in the Creative Arts for young people, both in and out of school. We deliver projects and workshops in schools, we run out of school holiday clubs and activities and we have a Youth Theatre that meets weekly through term-time. We work with experienced practitioners in Art, Drama and Creative Writing but we also promote opportunities for young people, still studying or starting out their careers, to learn and take on leadership positions.
What do you offer to young people?
We offer young people the opportunity to experience the Creative Arts through doing it. Whether this is in school or out of school, we guide them to create, whether that is artwork, poems, stories, drama performances, sketches, sculptures. Whatever inspires them. It is the process of creating that interests us.
What activities are most popular for young people and why?
Not even the finest propagandist could spin me as a young person! In some ways, this is a question best answered by others. However, our experience of working with young people shows that any project that inspires them is popular. Clearly, people are inspired by different things. If the activity is relevant and allows them to have a voice, it tends to be popular.
Our Youth Theatre groups are popular. The feedback we have obtained from members suggests they enjoy a calm atmosphere, a space where they can be themselves and the chance to express themselves. If I had to pick one specific element, improvisation games are very popular.
Could you give an example of a recent project you have run, and the impact it had?
We run a Play in a Week project. We deliver to a school group the opportunity to stage, as it says, a play in a week. This begins with us getting to know the group and finding (or writing) a suitable script for them. Then at the start of the week, there are lots of games and activities to form an ensemble. As the week progresses, there is more focused rehearsal and workshopping. And finally there is a performance at the end of the week.
Feedback from such projects suggests schools find it a useful way to bring their young people together and pupils find it challenging, exciting, inspiring, fun, hard work and confidence building.
Have you seen any change in the industry over the last few years? Is it positive or negative?
While Creative Arts in some schools are perhaps being sidelined somewhat, there does seem to be more groups and organisations outside of schools looking to provide opportunities for young people. This is wonderful!
Do you run Arts Award or offer a Trinity College qualification? If so, what do you offer and how can young people get involved?
We are about to do the training that allows us to become an Arts Award Adviser. This will allow KS2 pupils initially, and older students as we progress with higher-level training, to come to us for their Arts Awards. In particular we are looking to boost our Junior Youth Theatre Group by offering work towards an Arts Award.
Are you an Arts Award Supporter? If so, what do you offer to young people doing Arts Award?
We are already an Arts Award Supporter. Our work with schools, our Youth Theatre groups and holiday workshops and activities offer opportunities in this regard.
Is there anything you particularly want to promote to young people at the moment?
Currently we are involved with an exciting project for KS2 pupils inspired by The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Alongside organisations such as The Wildlife Trust and Acorn Early Years Foundation, we are offering Creative Arts workshops in outdoor settings. We are also due to run a poetry writing workshop at the Quinton Poetry Festival in June.
Where can people find out more about the work you do?
More details about all our work can be found on our website (www.fabulaarts.co.uk) or via our Facebook page (@FabulaArts) or our Twitter page (@FabulaArts).