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What we’ve got up to so far!

Jake and Tracy Empathy Rehearsals

Hi, my name’s Esther Rennae Walker and I’m the Trainee TYA producer/programmer at Half Moon. We’re over a month into our Narratives of Empathy and Resilience programme and I’m back with another update on what we’ve got up to so far!

Empathy and Resilience Blog 4

Casual headshot of Esther Rennae Walker After a few weeks of introductory creative sessions (check out our vlogs) to get the ball rolling, the artists are beginning to develop their stories and fuse their different practices together. One of the most exciting things about observing the development of this programme is seeing the diversity of stories and worlds that are going to be brought on stage to our young audiences, stories of heritage, friendship, hardship, freedom, dreams and much much more.

I asked some of our writers and spoken word artists why they feel it’s important to tell their story to young audiences. This is what they said:





Joe Nerssessian

Professional headshot of Joe NerssessianThe story I’m writing is both important and unimportant for all people, including young people. Unimportant to give resonance to the fact that stories can feel unimportant to us, yet perhaps leave a mark later on in our lives. We can circle back and re-learn what we didn’t learn the first time around. Or perhaps some people have nothing to learn from it or the story itself gives no lesson. This story speaks to loss, identity, displacement – I think pertinent themes for young audiences of today. It also speaks to building things, drilling, hammering – pertinent themes for young people for eternity.”


Farah Najib

Professional headshot of Farah Najib“With the government thinking of re-introducing weigh-ins of primary school children, and the obsession with losing ‘pandemic weight’ everywhere we turn, poor body image and low self-esteem (of adults and children alike) is plaguing the nation. Young people deserve to cultivate a relationship with food and their bodies that is based in joyfulness, nourishment, and self-love. That’s why my story is important.”


Tom Stockley

Casual headshot of Tom Stockley “I want to make work that doesn’t tell young people what to do or think, but to find the space together to empower them to know that they are more intelligent and more powerful than they are told. I want young people to know that they are the ones responsible for themselves, each other and their futures.”



Steve Tasane

Professional headshot of Steve Tasane“We’re always worried about whether there is space for us in the world and as children that world is defined by the home and by our family. The story I am writing explores this idea of being kicked out of bed in your own home, which is a core anxiety that we have whether it’s our family or an arranged situation with people who aren’t family. The shared concern is whether we have a sense of belonging. We belong by being there for each other and that’s part of the lesson. I just can’t belong by being, I belong by engaging.”


Our artists continue the journey of developing new bodies of work for the TYA sector with less than a month till our provocation day on the 22 July. In the meantime, keep an eye out for more future Empathy and Resilience blogs and vlogs and I look forward to sharing more exciting updates regarding the programme.

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