Smoke, camera, action… A peek into Amplify!

Aliens, global dictators, protest banners and pepe the frog. What on earth (or beyond) could all these things have in common? The first memory that springs to mind is ‘The Gathering’ that culminated our latest project Amplify.  

‘The Gathering’ was a mini-festival experience that brought together young people from Dunoon, Greenock and West Lothian to connect through a day of collective workshops, learn from inspiring new artists and share the performances they had devised the previous weekend with each other. It took place at Beacon Arts Centre on 17 June, sprouting from their learnings on performance and protest – the driving influence of the project. Having spent the 11 and 12 of June in their independent groups with a Lead and Trainee Artist, the young people uncovered more about the history of theatre and activism, and collaborated on brand new performances through script writing, costume making, choreography and devising.  

It was amazing to see what each group had achieved over such a short period the previous weekend, and how passionate they were both sharing what they had made and inviting all the participants and other visitors to contribute further to their work. One participant said “I really enjoyed coming together with lots of young people and hearing our voices in a really unconventional way. I loved making and seeing the performances.” While another said “I really enjoyed getting to work with new people and new artists”. As part of the day, they also had the chance to meet and work with environmental artist and activist Ink Asher Hemp. Ink commenced the day with a performance around care, wellbeing and connection, which perfectly framed the approach for the day – to consider others’ needs and voices as well as your own in times of resistance. Then, after a series of creative workshops led by each of the Lead and Trainee Artists, the groups put themselves at the helm, dispersing across the venue to share the performative vignettes they had developed.  

The day ended with a creative response from Ink, incorporating elements of each of the performances through the making of mini pea-planters in makeshift newspaper pots. Everyone involved in the day was then able to take home the beginnings of their own new micro-garden, reflecting on how the tiniest seed of thought can be nurtured into something you can’t quite yet comprehend.  

Watch the video to catch some glimpses of the day and hear from Leo, Jack and David about what each of the groups got up to:

You can also find out more about the project and the youth theatres involved on the Amplify page.

What are your thoughts about performance as protest? Let us know on social media!