Our first ‘Read Aloud Your Writing’ workshop was wonderful, with poet and author Deborah Tyler Bennett sharing wisdom gained over an extensive career performing at events, festivals, and heritage and arts venues across the UK.
Not everyone who came to the workshop intends reading to an audience. Some just wanted to gain skills and confidence in sharing their writing with family, friends and in writing classes.
Everyone overcame their nerves, though, and had a go ‘at the front’ reading to the rest of us. Deborah’s feedback on what each had done well and what could be tweaked a little was priceless. So much so that one novice-performer decided it had given her courage to go and perform at a forthcoming open mic gig.
Here are some of the things people had to say about the workshop:
‘I enjoyed it a lot – it was fantastic!’
‘Enjoyable and thought-provoking.’
‘It really helped me think about what/who I’m reading to, why I want the poem to be valued. So many tips!’
‘A thorough exploration of possibilities.’
‘Coming today has made a huge difference to my confidence.’
Our second workshop on May 11th will cover new but similar themes and participants won’t need to have attended the first workshop to gain something from it.
LinkedIn tells me that this month (Jan 2019) marks the sixth anniversary of Charnwood Creatives Ltd being registered as a Social Enterprise with Companies House.
Frankly, I was shocked to see that number. Six years? How can that be? The time has simply flown by.
It’s been an interesting journey to this point, with lots of new skills learned, creative practices tested out, friendships established in groups that we’ve worked with and plans made for things we’d like to do in the future. There are still rough edges to smooth out – accessing funding to work with those who can’t fund themselves, for instance – but we’re confident we’ll be able to do this.
But our purpose is as strong as ever. To foster a sense of creativity in everyone that we meet, however great or small their experience of art activities, and to strengthen the feeling of community in the area in which we live.
The Informals were a bunch of people interested in writing who met every Thursday afternoon at Loughborough Library from Spring 2013 to early 2018.
The sessions were free and informal – hence the name – with members dropping by when they were able and missing a week here and there when something else cropped up.
Mostly, the sessions were a chance to chat and build connections between people who had never met before, to share what we each enjoyed about writing and to stimulate ideas with a creative exercise or two. Everyone enjoyed themselves and at times, our chatter and laughter were louder than is really acceptable in a library!
We each took turns contributing starting points for a piece of writing: sometimes a favourite poem, sometimes a line of text from the nearest book to hand, sometimes writing prompts found on the internet and sometimes simply a random phrase that passed through someone’s head or had been part of the the groups’ coffee-time discussions.
During the five years the group met we produced three anthologies of our work and held several readings and exhibitions of writing in the Library, to mark literary events such as World Poetry Day.
Click the links below to buy our anthologies on Amazon. The proceeds from these sales support writing activities in the local community.
Charnwood Creatives are proud to be involved in a new exhibition organised and staged by The Hero Project, the Leicestershire-based community interest company responsible for the recent Geordie Heroes Exhibition in Newcastle City Centre and for Coalville’s ground-breaking Famous Fifty commemoration, which has toured many exhibition spaces around Leicestershire and beyond since it was created in November 2017.
For our Fantastic Female we decided to create a cut out of Aphra Behn, the first British woman known to have earned her living as a professional writer. Aphra lived in Restoration England, at a time when it wasn’t considered ‘seemly’ for educated women to earn an independent living or to publicly express their opinions through writing. Aphra did both, and in doing so became a role model for every female writer who was to follow her.
We had a lot of fun creating Aphra, using recycled materials, collage techniques, watercolour painting and a fancy-dress wig. We quite miss her now she’s gone, but hope people enjoy learning about her when they meet her at the exhibition.
The Fifty Fantastic Females will be on display at the Co-operative Store in Bridge Road, Coalville until the end of December 2018.
You can watch a film about the Famous Fifty exhibition here and another about why it was decided to display them in the town’s Co-op here.