Please Listen is a play about growing up in the care system in Scotland. It was written by young people at Kibble Education and Care Centre in Paisley and has been performed over 40 times with different organisations across the country - including Scottish Parliament. The play has been developed into a short film so that more people can see the work. This work from Kibble Education and Care Centre (an IRISS Champion organisation) was recently featured in the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care.
Here we provide a summary of some of the key points from the article.
With the support of Gavin Sinclair, Creative Arts Development Officer and Scottish screen actor, Daniel Portman, two young people wrote the play ‘Please Listen’, a ten minute play, which explores the highs and lows of a life in care.
The boys drew on their own experiences to develop characters and situations that explore issues such as being moved from home to home and having little control over your own life, but ultimately focuses on the strengths of young people and their ability to trust, care, develop their talents and reach their potential if given the chance.
The play was a vehicle to tackle difficult conversations about life in care. Developing and performing the play helped the kids in their struggle to understand why they behaved in certain ways or why they felt certain emotions or feelings, the importance of families and a sense of belonging. The performance was really powerful and very emotional, but more important was the journey that the kids had made and what they had got out of being involved in the process in a safe and secure environment.
Doing Please Listen was amazing. People actually listened to what we had to say. It’s been brilliant working on it and getting our point of view across to thousands of people.
We got to create our own play with our own words. It was all ours and that’s what made us so proud. I am so much more confident now and happy to discuss my life with people.
I used to hate talking to social workers. I used to just get really angry and swear at them. I’ve now taken control of my own life and my behavior is so much better.
I’ve learned that working to people’s strengths and empowering them to achieve through something they enjoy can change lives. Recognition for achievements and constant positive feedback goes a long way. I’ve been fortunate to be part of their project and witness the impact it has had on these kids.
Good practice and learning points
1. Building on real experiences
“We had taken Daryl and Jonny’s ideas and performed their play. Their words, their speeches, their experiences, their opinions, their tears and their own creation”
2. Depersonalising experiences
“...taking on a different persona and, difficult as this might be to understand, he is happier playing a character than he is being himself”
3. Having a professional actor work alongside the kids
“the boys idolised him, they were so proud to be performing with s star”
4. Go at the pace of the group and be led by them
“I noticed Jonny was starting to withdraw and I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew... I called a break to give them and me a bit of breathing space and think time.”
5. Focus on the positives
“They were terrified, but at the same time excited about being heard. I focused my energy on their confidence, emphasising how brave they were to perform their own feelings and opinions to 400 strangers.”
6. Celebrate achievement
“The kids from the audience came onto the stage at the end of the show with tears streaming down their faces. They hugged Jonny and Daryl, congratulating them and praising them. Bravery personified. The end. Well done everyone. Pat on the back to all involved.”
The group has been inundated with invitations to perform at a range of training events, conferences, schools, colleges and universities. The play was featured in an article in the Herald, the Evening Times, the Daily Record, Third Force News, the Paisley Express and in several professional magazines.
In general, Kibble continue to develop new ideas and ways of building confidence and self-esteem through the arts, trying to improve the lives of the kids with positive experiences and celebration of achievement.
For more information, please contact Gavin: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 952 9588