Full Circle are delighted to announce that a new member has joined the Full Circle team. As Full Circle is growing in success and developing at a faster rate than we could have ever imagined, we decided to recruit another member, who could join our cake & coffee-fuelled team.
We knew as soon as we saw Charlotte that she would fit into our slightly bonkers, creative and enthusiastic team!
Charlotte has joined the team as a Youth Project Coordinator, working with primary and secondary schools around South Wales to help our mission of improving the attainment, attendance of aspirations of young people.
Charlotte’s first project is with a group of young women in Merthyr Tydfil, in Pen-Y-Dre High School. These girls are suffering with a lack of confidence, which can stop them from taking part in sports and physical activities such as P.E lessons.
Well, I’ve just come home from my first session at a new school programme at Pen-Y-Dre.
Firstly it is important to know that Merthyr Tydfil already holds a special place in my heart, as last year I worked as part of the Common Wealth, Cardiff University and National Theatre Wales team to create The People’s Platform. This is a piece of theatre inspired by local stories that put the people of Merthyr centre-stage at Penydarren Social Club, performing to their friends and family, their community and many policy and decision makers from Welsh Government.
My role was as a Director of the Young Company, working with young people from Pen-Y-Dre School for a number of weeks to create a film that responded to the Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015.
In all honesty I was a little nervous at the level of responsibility that came with this position! By this stage last year I had worked with a reasonable number of young people via theatre but this was different, there was no script…I felt a slight dread that my “crutch” had been swiped away from me…
I had to discover how to make something from scratch with brand new collaborators in quite a short space of time (you may say I was definitely in the deep-end!).
So, I set about doing what I thought every “good” artist did: I planned.
I prepped and plotted and calculated what we should do until I was blue in the face…all before meeting the young people in the first session.
And writing this a year later, after the number of young people I’ve worked with has reached thousands (I know, right?!) I see the mistake I made…my agenda. But, I don’t blame myself for this flaw.
Our society indoctrinates us to believe that we need such a fervent agenda when working with young people. After all, we spend the first part of our lives as children hearing, “do as you’re told” and the other half as adults (ish) saying it!
We have teachers and parents barking instructions, and rules that we’re too often not invited to understand, yet must accept as soon as the caveat “because I said so” is uttered. This clearly isn’t a useful exchange, as more often than not a tennis match of this conversation ensues…
A year of working with young people has taught me a lesson; that something within our current inter-generational relationship is flawed. Like so many others I didn’t first appreciate that the young people that I was about to work with held the key to our outcome’s success.
In turns out that throwing plans and agendas out of the nearest window was the best thing we could’ve ended up doing!
What are your plans with the young people that you’ll be working across South Wales?
I heard an excellent quote recently as part of TED talk, which was, “Young people are experience-rich yet language poor.”
This eloquently sums up the part I have to play as an artist who collaborates with young people – they have the material, they have the stories, they have the questions, the hopes, the dreams and ambitions.
So how can I help them? Well, whilst I have the practiced consciousness to extract, explore and evaluate, I have the language, verbal and artistic skill that comes with my years through and out of (just!) adolescence…so I have a duty to use those: THAT should be my agenda.
Too often we berate young people for not having a sense of wisdom that can only be cultivated with age and experience…that seems a little childish to me…
So my plan in Merthyr, like with any group I work with; is to have faith in the collaborators I am about to start working with. Everyone has a story, and if you listen long enough, agendas – in my view – work like cotton in your ears.
We are so excited to start working with you at Full Circle, Charlotte!
If you would like to send Charlotte a welcome email, discuss her project in Merythr Tydfil, or find out more about her theatre work, drop her a line at: Charlotte@FullCircleEducation.org