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Narratives of Empathy and Resilience

Narratives of Empathy and Resilience engaged a diverse range of freelance artists who spent three months collaborating and creating theatre for young audiences, from birth to teenagers and young adults.

What started as a public call-out in March 2021 (that yielded over 600 applicants) quickly progressed to a collective of 17 dynamic artists, from a range of disciplines at different stages of their creative careers, who collaborated to create nine powerful scratch performances for different age ranges for the Theatre for Young Audiences  (TYA) sector.

At the end of the making phase of the project in July 2021, due to COVID restrictions, the performances were shared among the creatives and Half Moon team. The day provoked conversations around inclusion and representation, as well as reflecting back on the under-pinning themes of the project – empathy and resilience leaving the artists inspired and committed to including young audiences in their artistic practices. Although we were unable to welcome delegates in-person, the showcase and Q&As that followed each piece, were professionally filmed.

Now, to bring closure to the project, all the filmed performances and Q&As are being shared via Zoom to the wider TYA and arts sector at the culminative digital showcase on 23 and 24 September. This will be accompanied by a series of provocation sessions where the artists and delegates debate the issues raised by the work.

Part of our Exchange for Change artform development programme aiming to develop new plays for young people, Narratives of Empathy and Resilience is a continuation of our long-term ambition to create stories that reflect our diverse community, as well as support underrepresented artists in developing their practice.

Book for the digital showcase

Introduction video

Behind the Senes

We charted this exciting journey with some behind the scenes content of our artists’ creative journey, including a series of blogs, photos and videos.

BLOG 1: Getting started BLOG 2: Meet the artists BLOG 3: Meet the artists, part 2 VLOG 1: Empathy artists first meet VLOG 2: Meet the ensemble BLOG 4: What we’ve got up to so far BLOG 6: Empathy and resilience showcase 2021

Narratives of Empathy and Resilience performances

Click on the buttons below to find out more about individual Narratives of Empathy and Resilience shows.

10-In-The-Bed

for ages 3-7

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Angel

for ages 7+

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The Bench

for ages 8+

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Boys Will Be Boys

for ages 9+

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Daytime Deewane

for ages 12+

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Flat Lands

for ages 13+ and young adults

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Hot Orange

for ages 13+ and young adults

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Loop.In.Doors

for 13+ and young adults

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Psychic Babies

for ages 1-3

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10-In-The-Bed

for ages 3-7

Powerfully moving and playful at the same time, 10-In-The-Bed features four characters who each in turn are threatened with being kicked out of the ‘too-small’ bed, but who are saved when their unique quality is identified, and with the realisation that their loss would be detrimental to everyone’s well-being and safety. There are sharks, pirates and funny fishes with flappy fins; there are damp walls, a dripping tap and the institutional voice beyond the door telling them to ‘be quiet’.

10-In-The-Bed explores urban deprivation, with the imaginative play that children enact serving as a metaphor for games that serve as a route of escape from their harsh reality of poverty.

Cast and Creative Team

Writer | STEVE TASANE
Composer and Sound Designer | JAMES PERRY
Assistant Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Script Dramaturge | DAVID LANE

with KENNETH OMOLE as Naz and Pringle, and JOHN OMOLE as Iggy
featuring the voice of ANDROULLA CONSTANTINOU as Woman

Angel

for ages 7+

Food is Angel’s place for adventure and imagination: she loves pigs in blankets at Christmas, and the all-day buffet on holiday in Spain is a place of fascination and experimentation. As those around her start to comment on the size of the portions on her plate and a healthy eating regime at school means she can’t eat what she wants anymore, she starts to ask questions.

Angel explores young people’s relationship with food and diet cultures, seeking to challenge societal expectations, stigmas and negative stereotypes surrounding female body image.

Cast and Creative Team

Writer | FARAH NAJIB
Composer and Sound Designer | JAMES PERRY
Assistant Director | RORI ENDERSBY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Script Dramaturge | DAVID LANE 

with JADE DOWSETT-ROBERTS as Angel

The Bench

for ages 8+

Gentle, reflective and powerfully understated, The Bench explores the importance and beauty of inter-generational friendships, when two different generations unpack their feelings and stories and find a metaphysical connection through the act of building a simple park bench.

With child-like visuals and a soundtrack rooted in the world of traditional Armenian music, The Bench uses the story of the 1915 Armenian genocide and the death marches into the Syrian Desert inflicted upon ethnic Armenians by the then Ottoman Empire.

The piece depicts a powerful exploration of inherited trauma and resonates with contemporary forced migration.

Cast and Creative Team

Writer | JOE NERSSESSIAN
Composer and Sound Designer | JAMES PERRY
Co-Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Co-Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Script Dramaturge | DAVID LANE

with MICHAEL IRVING as Andranik, and PETER LOSASSO as Jack
and featuring the voices of ANDROULLA CONSTANTINOU as Woman and GEOFF ARTHUR as Jack’s Father

Boys Will Be Boys

for ages 9+

Boys Will Be Boys explores how and why young men can, from an early age, be subjected to toxic masculine experiences that can have negative impact upon their own development and the lived experiences of others, especially women.

Boys Will Be Boys challenges the young audience to unpack the origins of adult gender violence from seemingly harmless playground games, peer pressure and influential societal role models, especially among family members.

Using poetry and exquisitely beautiful storytelling, the piece leaves the audience asking questions about how their own behaviours and interactions can have huge impact upon others.

Cast and Creative Team

Performer and writer | ZOHAB ZEE KHAN
Composer and Sound Designer | JAMES PERRY
Assistant Director | RORI ENDERSBY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Trainee Dramaturge (Spoken Word) | LORI ZAKARIYYA KING
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Project Dramaturge (Spoken Word) and Dramaturgical Trainer | ROSEMARY HARRIS

Daytime Deewane

for ages 12+

Daytime Deewane explores the beauty and struggle of living with a multi-faceted, multi-cultural identity as a 15 year old teenage boy in 1990s Britain. Puberty, inter-generational conflict and spirituality are explored through a British Muslim Pakistani lens, observing how a young man who occupies many spaces searches for harmony.

Inspired by the daytime raves of 1990s British Asian culture and using poetry framed within a live DJ soundtrack, the piece joyfully celebrates a generation who carved out space for a ‘British Asian’ sub-culture. 30 years on in 2021, Daytime Deewane brings audiences insightful contemporary resonances to explore.

Cast and Creative Team

Writer | AZAN AHMED
DJ on Stage and Sound Designer | JAKE WALKER
Assistant Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Movement | HAMZA ALI
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Trainee Dramaturge (Spoken Word) | LORI ZAKARIYYA KING
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Project Dramaturge (Spoken Word) and Dramaturgical Trainer | ROSEMARY HARRIS

and JONNY KHAN as Farhan
featuring the voices of AZAN AHMED as MC A-Jazz and Farhan’s Baba and ESTHER RENNAE WALKER as Girl

Flat Lands

for ages 13+ and young adults

Flat Lands is a multi-media spoken word show about friendship, risk taking and BMX bikes, told from the perspective of an older, benevolent but often socially invisible housing estate street cleaner. 11 year-old Leo has been kicked out of school and spends his days on his bike, showing off to the older teenagers on the estate and causing trouble where he can. In Jay and Rico, who are struggling themselves to navigate the demands of day-to-day existence, Leo finds two role models and a chance to make choices of his own.

Flat Lands aims to explore the context of tender male friendships and communal responsibility. The piece highlights the resilience, joy and beauty of communities who are often overlooked in theatre-making.

Cast and Creative Team

Performer and Writer | TOM STOCKLEY
Sound and Video Designer | JAKE WALKER
Assistant Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Trainee Dramaturge (Spoken Word) | LORI ZAKARIYYA KING
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Project Dramaturge (Spoken Word) and Dramaturgical Trainer | ROSEMARY HARRIS

Featuring the voices of SONNY BUNKER of Half Moon’s Youth Theatre as Jay, BRODIE BUNKER of Half Moon’s Youth Theatre as Rico, FREDDY WADSWORTH of Half Moon’s Youth Theatre as Leo and ANDROULLA CONSTANTINOU as Leo’s Mum

Hot Orange

for ages 13+ and young adults

Hot Orange is an exploration of friendship, reconstructed memories and the liberating power of playtime imagination, as two teenage girls from very different worlds, meet again after 8 years.

Set in their childhood playground basketball court, Hot Orangeinterrogates childhood intimacy and the moment when you fall in love: feelings that are shattered by the darker reactions of others.

Using spoken word, framed within an evocative soundscape, the piece presents audiences with a powerful and honest contemporary narrative of queer love in childhood.

Cast and Creative Team

Writer and Performer | AMAL KHALIDI 
Writer and Performer | TATENDA NAOMI MATSVAI
Additional text | RORI ENDERSBY
Stage, Projection and Costume Designer | ROISIN MARTINDALE
Composer and Sound Designer | ADAM PAROUSSOS
Co-Director | RORI ENDERSBY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Co-Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Project Dramaturge (Spoken Word) | ROSEMARY HARRIS

Loop.In.Doors

for 13+ and young adults

Loop.In.Doors explores social anxiety as an experience common to both transgender and cisgender people. It uses the everyday experience of getting ready to leave the house to look at how people are judged in public, and the impact of social norms on our well-being.

Framed within a live DJ soundtrack and using spoken word, Loop.In.Doors is an evocative and beautifully crafted piece, which challenges form through exploring the sound and musicality of language and finding new phrasing and physical interpretation. At its heart, it asks to consider that everyone has something to gain from trans liberation.

Cast and Creative Team

Performer and Writer | TOMARA GARROD
DJ on Stage, Sound and Video Designer | JAKE WALKER
Assistant Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER

Psychic Babies

for ages 1-3

Psychic Babies explores rites of passage, rituals, the wisdom we are born with, carry with us, have adopted from ancestors we have never met and the legacy we in turn leave behind.

With pulsating sound presented live on stage by a DJ artist, framed within evocative visuals, this theatrical and visceral performance uses semi-improvised movement and limited language to challenge audiences about stereotypes of beauty and motherhood in work for the very young.

Psychic Babies was initially inspired by those older homeless women who sleep on the streets in urban environments.

Cast and Creative Team

Performer and Writer | TRACY BICKLEY
DJ on Stage, Sound and Video Designer | JAKE WALKER
Assistant Director | STEPHEN BAILEY
Hair, Makeup and Character Development | DARREN EVANS
Trainee TYA Producer | ESTHER RENNAE WALKER
Director | CHRIS ELWELL
Lighting Design, Production and Technical Manager | SAMUEL BAKER
Script Dramaturge | DAVID LANE

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