Time Oot – Toonspeak’s summer show – was a fantastic success, and we’re so proud of the more than 60 participants who made it happen. The show was filmed and we’re putting on a fancy screening for the cast and crew on Saturday 7th September. At the same time we will be premiering the film on Youtube, so you can watch and comment live. Afterwards the show will remain on Youtube so you can watch it again and again, and share it with anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to see it in person.
5 x Youth Facilitators Needed for
Toon In Speak Out (TISO)!
are looking for 5 Youth Facilitators who will work over September-November to
plan and deliver TISO, our annual Youth Consultation event. The TISO event is a vital part of our
Toonspeak planning, it is our opportunity to gain feedback about the work
Toonspeak does and gather ideas for the future.
For the first time ever we are offering paid positions to Toonspeak
Young people to plan, deliver and evaluate this full day event for 80 Toonspeak
This opportunity is open to current or previous
Toonspeak Participants up to the age of 25 years.
The post holders will work together as a team with support from
Toonspeak staff to plan and deliver the full day consultation event.
Payment: £9 per hour
Hours/Terms: 32 hrs between September and November including planning, delivery and evaluation of TISO. Hours will include evening and weekend work.
Location: Toonspeak Offices, Barmulloch, Glasgow
We are able to make this opportunity possible through grateful support
from The Listening Fund Scotland.
Deadline for applications – Sunday 1st of September
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!
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!
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.
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.
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Toonspeak. I have been with the organisation for the past 4.5 years and it has had a profound effect on me as a person. I have never felt such joy in seeing young people progress or the impact this can have, and it has been my honour to be part of so many people’s journeys.
The staff who work with us are so amazing, from the core team to the freelancers, it will be difficult not to see you all the time.
I cannot wait to see the next summer show and follow Toonspeak’s exciting journey.
Toonspeak Associate Artist Steven Leach is now in post as Director of the Young Company but is also focused on Progression for young people in the Arts. And secured a visit from Simone Periera Hind’s casting agency who are looking for ‘spirited’ young actors aged 16+ for a new feature film and wanted to workshop Toonspeak participants!
We were visited by Anna Dawson from the agency who ran a two hour workshop with the group of over 20 young people. The casting director commented on how impressed she was with the group.
As you can see from the following showreel they have cast for some really exciting films/ TV programmes including ‘Outlander’ so we were over the moon to have them come to Toonspeak.
Here are some pictures from the day……
The participants involved really did us proud!
If you would like opportunities like this, or would like 1:1 support about your own career aspirations give us a shout. And watch this space for more opportunities!
Get in touch
Email firstname.lastname@example.org/ Call 0141 552 0234/ Text 07796 718 132
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 email@example.com, message ‘Paula Erin Morgan’ on facebook or call (0141) 552 0234
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, message ‘Paula Erin Morgan’ on facebook or call (0141) 552 0234
‘But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white – then melts for ever…’
Toonspeak are often approached to take part in events and projects outwith our regular programme, and sometimes it is for our participants to take part in performance opportunities.
And thus we were delighted to be asked by the Hunterian Museum to participate in their special “Night at the Museum” event to celebrate Burns Night.
Our young people were asked to recite one of Rabbie Burns’ most famous works as quoted above, ye olde favourite Tam O’ Shanter.
Regular Toonies Eve, Karly, Millie and Casey came forward to perform. They joined an ensemble including members of Platform Young Company, students and professional actors for a staged reading of Rabbie Burns’ most famous poem Tam O’ Shanter. The young people did themselves and Toonspeak proud. Their performance was staged alongside musical performances, readings and some fantastic living history.
“It was a great privilege to have the young people from Toonspeak contribute to our Burns on Stage Night at the Museum at The Hunterian. Active engagement though the performing arts was a new approach for us, and we were moved by the passion and conviction of their contributors to the Tam O’ Shanter performance. Being able to stand up in front of a huge crowd of people with little or no preparation and hold the audience for that spine tingling moment was an incredible achievement, (approx. 1000 people were booked into the event.) We would like to build on this experience and pursue new other opportunities to work with Toonspeak again in the future.” Message from Monica Callaghan (Head of Education at The Hunterian, Glasgow University)
It was also lovely to see a familiar face on the night, Libby McArthur, who we bumped into outside. Libby was generous enough to give plenty of encouragement to our readers, and some professional tips on delivery. General Manager Alan Govan was very thankful for this when he ended up being drafted in to join the group on stage!
Hopefully we did justice to this fantastic poem. The large crowd seemed to enjoy it. Thanks to everyone at the Hunterian Museum for having us.
As Toonspeak’s Young Company kicks off, we look forward to more performances out and about over the coming years.
We are super excited to announce it’s going to be a musical set in the 80’s, and the response by all the groups has been amazing, everyone is really excited. It was created via writing workshops we held with some of the young people past December with the new creative team.
The show is being developed through our Young Writers group every Monday and across our Theatre Makers groups that run Tuesday to Thursday evenings.
And what a team we have established!
Writer for Toonspeak’s sell out show ‘Ma Bit’ David Cosgrove is back along with Musical Director John Kielty who also worked on the show, except this time around it will be his Directorial debut. Toonspeak Associate Artist Steven Leach is working alongside John as Associate Director.
Choreographer Emma Jayne Park has joined our team for the first time and we are thrilled to have her working with us.
And Production Manager extraordinaire Jools Walls will be back, it wouldn’t be a Toonspeak production without her.
The show will be performed at Platform on the 26th and 27th July. Watch this space for more details!
As part of my gold arts award, I worked towards a showcase of work produced by the graduating fashion design class of 2018. This involved strong organisational skills, people and time-management as well as keeping to a budget to produce an exhibition of work at The Old Hairdressers in January of this year. This was only a small part of my overall arts award which saw me attend creative events and review them, extend my traditional art form through expanding into the realms of performance art and much more. I’ve really enjoyed working towards the award as it has forced me to reflect on my creative practice and understand what it is I enjoy about what I do, and this type of reflection is crucial as I begin to consider graduate jobs and opportunities. Now, I am looking towards opportunities to expand my skill set and experience within theatre and costume design and to build a creative network.
As part of my arts award, I helped with the running and organising of a day-long workshop based event with The Bold Collective, and had the chance to run my own workshop too. On the day, I was in charge of the running order and made sure workshop facilitators had all the resources they needed. I really loved helping out with the management side of it, and hope to do more events like this in the future.
Since the beginning of May this year, a phenomenal team of over 50 young people from Glasgow have been working with a range of Arts professionals devising, creating, writing and playing with the concept of
And it premiered at the Tron Theatre this August to standing ovations each performance.
Set in the past and the near future, TELT is a time travelling action adventure story for those sick of being telt to pipe down. After a generation’s voice is violently stolen, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a secret mission to retrieve what is rightfully theirs. But after hunting down then coming face to face with their attackers, will their words be mightier than the sword?
This was the first time the young people had worked with Mark Murphy, an outstanding artist with an impeccable track record built upon a body of work spanning 25 years across theatre, outdoor spectacle and international ceremonies, undoubtedly making it Toonspeak’s most ambitious show to date. And the young people pulled it off impeccably. The whole team were so impressed and so proud of what they achieved.
Not only was it performed well, our young artist team were running the production backstage having been mentored by professionals in the field they were working in across all aspects from stage management to lighting, sound, costume and more.
A massive achievement for everyone involved, we look forward to seeing what next years show will be. We’ll let the young people decide and get you TELT!
Some more comments about the show from participants and families…....
“An amazing project to be a part of from start to finish. A huge thank you to the entire team for this opportunity!”
“Well done loved it, and the fact Nicole was involved you do a great job with the kids they are well looked after.”
“A very powerful piece of art each and every one of the company on stage and off it worked so hard. As a parent I not only love the finished project but I love seeing the relationships the young people form. I look forward to seeing what the next project is. Oh and not to forget a massive well done to the behind the scenes team who organise everything from taxis to funding without you there wouldn’t be a company.“
“What a fantastic performance they all gave 👌I can’t wait to see what next year brings ❤️. All the hard work from you all behind the scenes who work amazingly hard to bring everything and everyone together the teamwork from you all stick out a mile and the hard work they’ve put in shows tremendous potential from each and every single kid who can put on a brilliant performance for an audience like myself who thoroughly enjoyed every single show they did and I am really excited to see what next year brings to the Tron Theatre. Well done to you all for giving your time and hard work to each and every kid you’s have worked with, Toonspeak is Teamwork well done 👌❤️“
“What an amazing show. All put together brilliantly. From kids to all off you behind the scene and off course all the Toonspeak staff. Thanks Jamie had a ball xx”
With recently starting a work placed programme with Toonspeak, I have had the fantastic opportunity of working with the Shine Young Parents group. I took this opportunity to take part as a participant which was great fun, and really livened up my Thursday afternoons.
Being a young parent myself, I have a great understanding of the struggle you can have at times weather it be, having issues with confidence or finding it difficult to find time to socialise with other adults.
The weekly workshops were a fantastic opportunity for the young parents to have a break. To have two hours out of their week to socialize, have fun and ultimately gain a little bit of confidence.
At our feedback session a lot of the participants agreed that they enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people, in a fun and friendly environment which ultimately helped them build their confidence.