Word of Mouth is a Toonspeak Young Writers project led by author Cathy Forde each year, and features a range of guest artists with different styles and from various backgrounds.

I first started with Toonpeak back in February 2016, on placement as an occupational therapy student. During my time on placement at Toonspeak, I gained loads of insight into this sector and how potentially my own profession could be integrated into the arts. I loved my time on placement with the Toonspeak gang so much, I came back in August and became a volunteer!

Being more involved with Toonspeak inspired me to become more creative and to challenge myself to something new. Shortly afterwards I started the Word of Mouth project, facilitated by Cathy Forde, Cat Hepburn and various other guest writers.

Word of Mouth started on 1st September 2016, the workshops ran weekly every Thursday evening in the Toonspeak studio for 14 weeks!

Starting Word of Mouth at first I felt nervous!! I had never done any form of creative writing before and I knew I was going to be working with a group of young people who had some experience in writing and the arts sector. I felt conflicted! I wanted to try something new, be creative and put myself out there, but I also didn’t want to embarrass myself in front my peers, who were all super talented!

However from the very first workshop I knew that I would have no problem fitting in with this amazing group of people, and after meeting Cathy and Cat I knew that I would get all the support I needed for my creative writing and performance!

Everyone at the group (some old and some new like me) were all very accepting, kind and friendly. Each of my fellow writers all came from different backgrounds, we all came together as one and found common ground through word of mouth.¬†We would write, perform to each other, give each other constructive feedback and eat far too much together (Cathy’s baked goods and cheese week always went down a hit).

We became like a little writing family, and Cathy as our spirit maw :)!

As a group we were all working towards a performance (Crimbo Cabaret) that took place on 10th December, in Townhead Village Hall. With the hall and performing area looking braw and festive, we were all set to go. This being my first time performing I was a bag of nerves, but with a few reassuring words from my buddies and knowing that everyone was in my corner, I did something that didn’t come natural to me and I got up on stage and performed a piece of creative writing that I wrote. It was a rush but I felt amazing afterwards, and I couldn’t have done it without Cathy, Cat and the rest of the Word of Mouth gang.

The event was a success, with other amazing performances from the rest of Word of Mouth, Toonspeak Tuesdays, Toonheid Speaks, Rookie Writers and the Great Aziz!

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Stuart Kennedy Performing “All Shook Up”. Photo Credit: Kevin Main

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Stephanie Love from Word of Mouth. Photo Credit: Kevin Main

So now that Word of Mouth has came to an end, my Thursday evenings won’t be the same!! I’ll miss it! From Cat teaching us to be wonder woman, Cathy’s love, support and love of licorice comfits and Fiona’s words of advice and wisdom!

My journey with Toonspeak has been an awesome one! From student, to volunteer, to participant, so I want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Toonspeak, Cathy Forde, Cat Hepburn and the rest of my peers at Word of Mouth, I couldn’t have done it without you! Also anyone thinking of joining Word of Mouth for the next session, I would say go for it!! It’s been an amazing experience.

 

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Word Of Mouth, after Crimbo Cabaret Performance at Townhead Village Hall

Photo Credit: Kevin Main

 

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Cat Hepburn and Cathy Forde (Word of Mouth Facilitators).

Photo Credit: Kevin Main