One of the things that most excited me about the Young Writers’ City project in Gateshead was its location. I’ve lived in Gateshead for coming up to 11 years and it feels so exciting that something like this is now happening on my doorstep for young people in the town. I’ve admired New Writing North’s work for a long time because I know how much emphasis they put on really empowering and inspiring young people to be creative and to talk about the things that matter to them so I was delighted to be offered the position of Project Producer on this new adventure.
The first week of sessions was a blur of new faces, seemingly endless school corridors and close to 180 new names to try and remember. But very quickly, I’ve settled into the routine of the classes and without a doubt the best bit of the job has been getting to know all of the young people we’re working with. I’m inspired by their unique takes on all of the writing prompts we’ve given them and they’ve created work in response that has been humorous, thought-provoking, revealing and insightful. I’ve also been impressed at their willingness to try new things and to challenge themselves in a variety of ways. They might not all feel like writers, they might not all feel confident speaking up or sharing work in front of others but they are all willing to try.
In these first few weeks they’ve told us about the world issues that matter to them; from climate change to bullying, from racism to sexism to fears over terrorism and crime. They’ve created poetry inspired by performance poets, vintage book titles and each other. They’ve created one-word stories, tried free writing and told us what they’re proud of about Gateshead.
And judging by the last few weeks alone I’d say that in the coming months and years, they’re going to make Gateshead very proud of them.
Becci Sharrock is a writer, theatre maker and creative producer based in Gateshead. She creates work across mediums but always from a text-based approach. You can find out more about her work at www.beccisharrock.com.