Starcatchers, Imaginate and Lyra join forces for new creative project, Where We Are

4 March 2021

With a travelling ensemble, creative play, and participatory performance making, Where We Are will be co-designed with children and young people across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife, and will see Starcatchers, Imaginateand Lyra join creative forces to deliver this ambitious programme of artistic activity.

The programme is supported by the Creative Scotland Youth Arts Targeted Fund which aims to support the young audiences sector by increasing employment opportunities for artists while working closely with groups focused on tackling inequality.

Where We Are will provide employment opportunities for 17 artists, practitioners and production staff in 2021, in response to the current shortfall of creative opportunities for freelancers, and to address the concern of lack of engagement in cultural experiences for our youngest citizens.

The three projects will engage over the coming year with refugee families, groups of children and young mothers and babies, through a programme of inspirational artistic activity. In partnership with organisations incl. Refuweegee, Multicultural Family Base and Fife Gingerbread, the three distinct project strands will be led by experienced artists and informed by the wellbeing and needs of the children and young people involved.

Working collaboratively, the three organisations will also deliver a comprehensive training and development programme for all the artists who will support each other and share their experience across the whole project. There is a clear intention from the three organisations to ensure that Where We Are recruitment reaches artists who identify as Black, People of Colour, from the African Caribbean Diaspora, Latinx, East Asian Diaspora, South East Asian Diaspora, South Asian Diaspora, West Asian Diaspora (including Middle East), Indigenous people, biracial or have mixed heritage.

Building on previous work in and around Lochgelly and an existing relationship with Fife Gingerbread, Starcatchers will create a team of artists and artistic trainees to engage with teen parents and their babies in communities across south/west Fife.

Driven by a commitment to recruit locally will see Starcatchers’ artists embedded in communities, enriching direct engagement with babies and their young parents – in Glenrothes, Cowdenbeath, Methil, Leven and Kirkcaldy.

This new way of working will let the artists co-create inspiring arts activity together with the babies and their adults, designed so the voices of the participants – both babies and young parents – are reflected and heard. Starcatchers will deliver a series of weekly sessions over an 8-month period culminating in the creation of a work in progress that is led by and responds to the needs and interests of participants.

Rhona Matheson, Starcatchers’ Chief Executive said:
Where We Are is a fantastic new initiative that we hope will bring some joy, magic and creativity to children and young people in communities. Central to the Starcatchers project strand is the opportunity to engage artists to work directly in communities in Fife with teen parents and their babies who have found the impact of the pandemic particularly challenging. We are delighted to be working alongside Imaginate and Lyra on this initiative, which will offer so many artists and practitioners paid employment over the coming months after one of the most challenging times in our sector.” 

Imaginate’s strand will focus on engagement with refugee families, working in partnership with Refuweegee in Glasgow and Multi-Cultural Family Base in Edinburgh, two community organisations driven by the desire to eliminate racism in Scotland.

The creative teams will work collaboratively with the participants to develop live performances on the theme of where we are, an exploration of place and people reflecting on their lives and hopes in this unusual time.

At the core of the residencies will be 25 weeks of direct delivery with the young people involved.  The artists will co-design the activities that take place each week with the participants, building relationships and collaborating on themes and ideas to co-create a performance which will be shared with the wider community at the end.

Fiona Ferguson, Imaginate’s Creative Development Director said:
“We are delighted to be working with Multi-cultural Family Base again, and in particular with the Safe Haven group of children, and to begin a relationship with Refuweegee and the children and families they work with. The children will work alongside theatre and dance artists to co-create a performance that expresses their ideas, questions and hopes, and to meet the group doing the same on the other end of the M8.  It is also a huge privilege to have funding to recruit a team of artists and to work together with Starcatchers and Lyra on a programme of professional development, especially after the year we have had.  We are looking forward to getting started and bringing the artists and children together.”

Lyra will create a travelling theatre ensemble based at Artspace in Craigmillar, Edinburgh and led by Lyra’s Artistic Director, Jo Timmins. The ensemble will be a mini-theatre company, made up of performers and a production team, with a responsive outlook to the needs of children and young people in the local community, particularly in light of the ever-changing Covid landscape.

The Where We Areensemble will meet children and young people in their own spaces and engage them in a range of experiences – from watching live performances that have been made especially for them, to learning new skills in multi-art forms, including design and backstage crafts. They will also create their own live performances and events to share with family and friends.

Jo Timmins, Lyra’s Artistic Director said:
The Where We Are ensemble is an exciting new initiative that enables Lyra to provide ongoing work for a team of theatre professionals, while at the same time providing children and young people in Greater Craigmillar with a range of cultural experiences. The vision for the ensemble is to embed creativity in the young people’s own spaces, their nurseries, schools, community buildings and outdoors. The ensemble team will work side by side with children and young people, exploring ideas, sharing skills, and supporting them to create their own artworks.”