Young Women’s Estate-based Performance Project 2010-11

” we dont need anyone speaking for us; when we say it we say it in our own words and young people understand us – we want to tour our work to schools and youth projects and get us talking”

“if it is purely entertainment it wont be taken seriously. Sometimes its good to deal with issues.”

the drawing shed has set up a Young Women’s Estate-based Performance Project supported by partnership organisations, including Immediate Theatre and Walthamstow School for Girls and funded by ACE through BCBW.
The work the girls make is intelligent, sharp and most importantly: not always easy to hear! It organically reflects the concerns of Communities Against Gangs, Guns and Knives and the Heart programme building on the positive vision and aspirations of the girls, the families and the community.
Boys are not invited by the girls to join them in the making of the work, but they are invited to share as audience and – when they create Forum Theatre – to become active audience members, taking their part in shaping better outcomes in the dialogues that the girls initially set up. Young Women’s Estate-based Performance Project are a talented bunch for sure and we will constantly update this site with the new work they make!
As the drawing shed are involved with this community for the longer term, we are part of the ‘Call for Action’ which is a pan borough partnership project led by LBWF‘s Bethan West looking at the role of stronger dialogue with young people to reduce the influence of gangs within communities, and listening to what youth have to say and responding to needs that they articulate.
The project has seen five partner organisations in the local HSWS Network (Hoe Street & Wood Street) as co-producers with the girls taking the lead, and it’s something that we are rightly proud of sharing : all the Young Women who run this project live within the Hoe St ward of Waltham Forest and are now building their own group with their own voice and as such it is not a comfortable regeneration project!
The group have created two works to date (one on post code gangs and the other on  breakdown of dialogue within the family) which have both been shared with family and friends.  The first Forum Theatre evening was held in the drama studios at Walthamstow School for Girls in early April 2011 and attracted a fifty strong audience of parents and families, teenage friends and interested school staff and other local organisations. The event was a great success with active audience participation in the gang-related play called ‘THE SET-UP GIRL’. With a second pot of funding from the local LMPS, the group worked towards a second performance in July 2011 called ‘THREADS’, led by the drawing shed we bring visual arts into the project, woven through the theatrical work as in ‘Threads’ with the playfully bound food stuff in the intense domestic kitchen scene, which was constantly being shifted around as the mother engaged with her anxiety as a parent.


Thinking through STEREOTYPES

'mum' and 'step-dad' trying to get hold of the daughter.....

Feedback from girls about their experiences of the project:

“I enjoyed the style: you get members of the audience involved..”.

“It puts you on the spot in a situation you don’t know how to handle and you learn from this..

Like a rehearsal for life.”

“I learnt new performance skills; I put forum theatre into practice.”

“We made the drawings ourselves and they reflected us, we discussed it together and the things we wrote were relevant.”

“The style of writing in the drawings was here, now, Urban, and it got the quality of our World.”

“The drawings showed the title behind the thinking of the forum theatre.”

“if it is purely entertainment it wont be taken seriously. Sometimes its good to deal with issues.”

“When you watch things you learn something from it even if its not obvious, like the Wizard of Oz: it has a silver-lining.”

Next steps to think about articulated by the girls:

“We need to know what paths can come from our actions if we don’t pay attention to them.”

“How life is really hard once you leave school”

“The consequences of my actions”


disagreeing how to respond..

tony as the 'teller' giving some directorial ideas

in the park, 'set up girl' meets the boyfriend who is from another post code

Forum Theatre in action - engaging with the audience who get to change the story....

a local resident comes onto stage and takes the role of the 'set-up girl', "if she did this, said that, then it could end better for her"

‘THREADS’ – it’s about the breakdown within the family, and the outcomes are not good ….

Making visual props for the second theatre piece about breakdown of dialogue within the family

kitchen prop making…

nearly there....

making a den-like structure

testing out the claustrophobic space


and released from the cage

kitchen prop ready...

more kitchen paraphernalia


In the kitchen

the boyfriend is not happy that her friends and family have an influence




the Boyfriend tries to persuade her , with peer pressure to leave her family and come away


SUS peer director telling the audience how it is..

The end