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Think We Need Some Time Oot

Ever wondered what it’s like at a Summer Intensive? You’re in luck! This video is a Day In The Life that showcases what it’s like during the last week of the Summer Intensive in the lead up to the Summer Show: Time Oot. Enjoy!

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Poster designing

Back in May, our excellent young people got the opportunity to work with the incredible Staci Jo Rowlison on the posters for the Summer Show!

The young people got a chance to feed their artistic thoughts into the process and were consulted throughout. They had a designing day and then were updated afterwards once Staci had all the ideas. Staci then put all the ideas together to create the incredible posters for Time Oot!

See the posters and find out more about the show HERE!

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Tune In to Time Oot…

The atmosphere is animated and elated as I walk into a room full of a bunch of overwhelmingly loud teenagers. They are bouncing and ready, eager to start the day and get on stage. It is the fourth day of the Intensive. It definitely lives up to its name, but knowing these young people as well as I do, I am not in the least bit surprised that they are not burnt out yet. That’s not to say there have been no drama and diva tantrums yet … but ultimately, they’re ready to go.

Toonspeak was born in a tiny flat not far from where the offices are based now, back in 1987. A group of people with a big idea to bring creative experiences to an area that doesn’t see much of it. Over thirty years later and Toonspeak isn’t just theatre: it’s music workshops, it’s writing sessions, it’s drama therapy, it’s drama trips, it’s ESOL. But most of all, it is a second home to the young people who cross the threshold weekly; a place of safety and solace for teenagers who don’t have that in the same way at home or at school. They can be with their friends, be with adults who they trust, create art they love and nurture skills they are just so passionate about. And it’s all well and good making the classes free, but Toonspeak go further than that- transport is provided in the form of pre-booked taxis and food is provided if they’re in a session over a meal-time. This really makes it accessible in a unique way. I’ve heard the young people use the word ‘family’ to describe Toonspeak, which is really special.

The idea of Toonspeak is kind of revolutionary, in a lot of ways. We all know youth arts exists. We see theatres all the time recruiting for their youth groups, offering a mix of singing, dance and drama, revving up the next generation of budding performers. Toonspeak do that, of course, but it could be said that the set-up is unique to the sector. Toonspeak is held up by young people- not just because they are participants, but because they are so much more than that. Young people at Toonspeak are on the board, they’re in the office doing logistics, they’re ex-participants who have done more than clung to the edges; they’re in the thick of it, working with the young people who mirror themselves ten years ago, building them up. This year, young people are even involved in the Production Team: our Assistant Production Manager, a long time Toonie, is just 22 and paid to be a part of the team. As well as this we have five young artists specialising in what they love and working alongside some of the best. When you walk into the room, most of the people working are under 25, which is something you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Toonspeak is supported by some amazing funders, but I firmly believe that Toonspeak would not be where it is if it weren’t for the young people who just kept going. 

It’s halfway through the fourth day now and you can tell they’re starting to flag. They’re not the only ones; the staff are exhausted too, but they keep pushing. Luckily for everyone, this summer Toonspeak have employed two Listeners, two qualified people who are both known and loved by the young people, there specifically to listen to the young people when it all gets too much. How many youth theatres have literal trained therapists there daily for their young people, on hand to listen to any problem? And the best part is, this was voted by the young people, their voices at the heart of what Toonspeak have funded for the Summer Intensive. You want listened to? Alright then, we’re here and we care. 

The team is a lot bigger than just a Core Team and two Listeners though. It’s not just how Toonspeak work with young people that’s unique, it’s the whole setup. There’s a core team managing logistics, funding, programming and outreach. Five people, at the moment, working solidly to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done. But outside of that, Toonspeak work with freelancers, a whole host of interesting, experienced and well known actors, singers, performers, directors, producers, costume designers and more. Some people may wonder why renowned people would want to work for a little youth arts charity in the North East of Glasgow. It’s simple- because we care, because we show we care, but mostly because the young people are absolutely incredible. I’ve lost count of the amount of amazing, creative people I’ve worked with over the last four days, and I’m not just talking about the adults with 25 years experience in their field. I’m talking about the young people. Their talent is off the charts. 

It’s not just the young people that are supported at Toonspeak though, and I say that whilst thinking about myself, Logistics and Media Coordinator for the summer. I am many marginalisations that would throw me at the bottom of the job market: I have a physical disability, autism, I am a lesbian and I am non binary, which means I am not male or female. I use they/them pronouns and my access needs include often needing lift access and needing longer breaks. The UK has workplace laws of course but often workplaces get away with discriminating. Toonspeak wouldn’t even try. I have been encouraged to put my pronouns in my email signature and be vocal when people use the wrong ones and my coworkers are supportive of my capabilities, and believe me when I say I can and cannot do things. My access needs are not a problem and on the days I want to ignore my own access needs, my coworkers keep me in check and make sure I’m not overworking myself. I have been encouraged to be open about my gender and sexuality with young people too, which in the long run has actually helped the young LGBTQ people we work with because they see a disabled LGBTQ adult thriving. 

We are lucky to have a charity like Toonspeak. Its uniqueness is something that many charities have missed the mark with and it couldn’t be more special. Everyone who has worked with Toonspeak walks away with a million stories and a space filled in their heart. So thank you, Toonspeak. 

Wondering what I’m talking about when I mention the Intensive? It’s three week, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day rehearsals, with the creative and production and core teams on board, as well as every single member of our young cast. We’re working towards a musical, written by the young people, called Time Oot. Fancy coming to see it? Click here, and get your ticket now. 

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Thank YOU!

I first got involved with Toonspeak in 2015 on a SHINE LGBT programme. I was 16, homeless, living in a unit and generally terrified of everyone and everything. My confidence was low and my anxiety was awful. But I knew two things: I wanted to perform, and I wanted to make some sort of change in the world.

Skip forward to 2018 and I was lucky enough to be studying HNC Working With Communities +at Glasgow Clyde College, a course all about social action, communities and social change. For the course we had to find a placement and I approached Toonspeak. I was lucky enough to get a day in the office and an evening working at North West Theatre Makers. Pretty soon I was taken on as one of the team and in the office two days a week helping out with all sorts, which was an incredible experience.

I am thankful to all the young people, to the staff at Toonspeak and to the board for really being such a constant in my life. You are all wonderful people and I am so happy to know you. Today is my last day on my contract with Toonspeak. I will be about for the Summer Intensive working on the Arts Awards, but then that really will be me. All good things must come to an end, and Toonspeak, you really were the best. Thank you for being such excellent, wonderful people. Please continue to be yourselves in the most authentic ways- don’t let anyone get in the way of that.

All my love,

Emrys

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C In The Park!

C In The Park

On Sunday the 16th, Toonspeak were at BCDC’s exciting annual event, C In The Park! We had so much fun.

We had a stall on the green as well as mask making and kite making in the hall. It was great to see so many faces so happy with their creations and we spread the word about the next term!

Thank you so much to all our wonderful volunteers who attend our weekly workshops including Grant, Hannah, Leona, Olivia, Codi, Karly and Kyle. You were all stars!

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Toonspeak are recruiting a Funding Officer

We are currently seeking a talented, reliable person to fill the post of Funding Officer.

The post holder will lead on key aspects of fundraising for Toonspeak. The core purpose of the role is to generate income to sustain the company and the pioneering projects and programmes Toonspeak delivers across Glasgow.

For more information, go here!

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Casting Day

On Sunday the 9th of June, Toonspeak had our Casting Day for the summer show!

The young people had a lot of fun and got to experience auditions for a musical which is a new experience for many of them.

One young person said, ‘The hour went by quick. Got one of the songs memorised. Definitely fun and eager to find out who’s who.’

Thanks for coming along!

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Word of Mouth and Sonnet Youth

Word of Mouth, facilitated by Cathy Forde and Cat Hepburn, present a night of original writing performance in conjunction with Sonnet Youth!

Find this inspiring and awe-striking event in the basement of Stereo Cafe Bar on Monday 24th of June, 7PM-10PM.

On the night you will hear original writing performance from young people as well as some curated acts from Sonnet youth!

FREE and unticketed! 14+.

Accessibility: Unfortunately the venue is not wheelchair accessible as the event is held in the basement of Stereo Cafe Bar.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/308673990072521/

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Casting day!

In the run up to our Summer Intensive over July, we have our casting day on the 9th June for our Summer Show!

We at Toonspeak are so excited to watch the day unfold. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

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Toonspeak are recruiting Young Production Artists

Toonspeak are looking for 10-12 young people (16+) to be trained and to work on our exciting musical: TIME OOT! You will have an incredible opportunity to be mentored and learn over the summer with an outstanding team of creative professionals.

These trainee positions include many interesting and varied roles such as stage managers, lighting, design, wardrobe and sound.

For more information please download the documents below:

Young Production Artists – ADVERT

Young Production Artists – ROLE & PERSON SPEC

Young Production Artists – APPLICATION FORM

“TELT” at Tron Theatre – 2018
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Happy Purple Friday!

LGBTQ History Month has been observed all over Scotland this month, with events celebrating the culture, art, activism and history of LGBTQ people not just in Scotland, but all around the world! The theme for this month’s LGBT History Month has been ‘CATALYST: 50 Years of Activism’, to mark 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. 

To finish off the month with a bang, today is Purple Friday! In the office today, we are all wearing purple to celebrate too. Purple Friday is named after the Purple in the Pride flag, which is known as the colour of ‘spirit’. 

Scotland is blessed with many LGBTQ actors, writers, producers, poets, producers and other artists who have contributed so much to not just Scottish culture, but the arts culture all over the world! Big names like Alan Cumming and Carol Ann Duffy are both well-known household names and have contributed to the arts in a big way. 

Here at Toonspeak, we will always be supportive and inclusive of our LGBTQ participants, regardless of their hopes and dreams. We welcome you to be yourself with no obligations.

If you are a young person looking for support with navigating questions about your identity, or if you just want to meet other LGBT young people, go here: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/

If you would like to find out more about LGBT History month, go here: https://www.lgbthistory.org.uk/

Happy LGBT History Month everyone!

If you have read our blog and would like to know more email info@toonspeak.co.uk, message ‘Paula Erin Morgan’ on facebook or call (0141) 552 0234 

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Purple Friday!

It’s Purple Friday this Friday, and we are excited to wear purple and participate in LGBT History Month. Purple Friday is named after the Purple in the Pride flag, which is known as the colour of ‘spirit’ and we will be showing our spirit for the LGBTQ community!

If you would also like to participate, wear purple on Friday to show support with the LGBTQ community in Scotland! This can be anything from painting yourself purple to just wearing a bracelet 😀

To find out more about LGBT History Month and Purple Friday, go here: https://www.lgbthistory.org.uk/


If you have read our blog and would like to know more email info@toonspeak.co.uk, message ‘Paula Erin Morgan’ on facebook or call (0141) 552 0234