The Droves with Dom Garfield

This month, we’re kicking off Phase 2 of The Droves – exploring what creative superpowers are simmering in young people and unlocking their potential as the digital experts and artists of tomorrow. Landing in our neck of the woods, Tower Hamlets, this phase will work with local primary schools to empower young people to utilise their imaginations and follow their creative visions.

Coney Associate Dom Garfield is on the hunt for those imaginative young creatives – read on for what he’s got in store.

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The Droves is an exciting and playful adventure, which will see young people aged 7-11 become the artistic leads on a new piece of interactive theatre (for adults).

What do you mean artistic leads? I mean exactly that. Full blown artistic leads. Everything, from direction to sound design, acting to marketing, the young participants involved in The Droves will be the leading/driving voice. As facilitators Coney will be providing a creative platform for young people to design a new world that could potentially focus on rectifying the mistakes of adults.

We are currently underway with phase 2 of the project after a successful phase 1 in 2016. This phase will see us work with up to 10 primary schools in our local borough of Tower Hamlets, delivering a fun, immersive hour long workshop.

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These workshops have dual goals. 1- to inspire, engage and create an exciting experience for young people and 2- to begin recruiting the most responsive young people to join us for a ‘big weekend’ of artistic masterclasses at the end of March which will result in a sharing for an adult audience.

We are looking to find young people who want to explore a new way of working, who are hungry to explore the designing of new worlds and are full of a limitless imagination. We are not interested in finding the ‘best’, ‘well behaved’ students as that would be boring. We could very easily ask teachers to put forward young people from their classes but the whole point of Coney going in to work with these classes is to realise and discover the young people who deserve/need a chance at learning and working in a new way.

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When I was a kid at school I struggled big time with learning in a traditional way and despite being told I was intelligent (debatable), I was constantly swimming against the tide trying to solidify the masses of information taught to me daily as a schoolboy. For me this actually led to frustration, reluctance, a lack of confidence and eventually exclusion. A project like The Droves could have been a game changer for me back in the 90’s/00’s and given me a chance to harness a high octane energy level in an informative way. Blackboards and textbooks are not the only way for young people to learn and one of my main reasons for being a theatre maker/facilitator is to impart this philosophy into communities and schools. This meant that working with Coney on The Droves made perfect sense as we share this important philosophy and ethos, as well as many others.

Working with me on The Droves is Coney veteran Tom Bowtell and Coney’s playful accomplice (best job title in Hollywood) Toby Peach. Together the three of us will be using our individual experiences and skill sets, armed with the strong artistic voice of Coney to create a melting pot of creative platforms for the young people we work with. I’m not sure on the title of my particular role but would like to go down the Toby Peach route and perhaps be called the ‘young peoples accomplice for silly learning’! Wow I love this. Coney HQ if you’re listening… Either way I am leading on the recruitment of young people in Tower Hamlets, assisting in the design of the workshops and will be delivering both the individual workshops and leading the acting masterclass during the Big Weekend.

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To wind up, if anyone’s reading this… If you have any ideas on how we can build on the creative adventure of The Droves, notably in ways to access new primary schools please get in touch. Also if you have any ideas or life lessons to improve my general well being, I am in Coney HQ every Tuesday and Wednesday :)

We’re still on the look-out for Primary Schools in Tower Hamlets to partner on this project with; if you’re interested in hosting a free creative workshop with professional artists for KS2 pupils, drop us a line.

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