The ‘How Are We?’ Zine created by Sophiya & supported by the Youth Cultural Life Fund
YCLF recipient Sophiya talks about her experience with launching a zine in lockdown.discover more >
Hello world! We are Smoking Guns, a young company based in the East Midlands. We have recently finished University and embarked on the very scary journey of being freelance artists. The opportunity to be part of the Emerge Festival has been the boost that our careers needed. Even though all three of us had experience with working with young people, the guidance received from The Mighty Creatives has helped us refine those skills, and the training sessions have always been great fun.
We got to meet with the other artists as well as our Lab partners and discuss all of the ideas we had for the festival. At this point the last thing left was to meet the children we will be working with for the next seven months.
One of the best experiences we ever had as a company was performing one of our shows for the Coneygre Youth Arts Centre, one of the two labs we will be working with towards the festival. We organized a ‘Getting to know us’ evening for the young people, their parents and a couple of Sandwell council members, and it was unbelievable. Everyone fully engaged with the performance and afterwards we had a little Q&A session about the show, the company and what we are planning to do for the workshops and the festival. The evening was a perfect idea as the young people got to interact with us and know us as artists, before they knew us as workshop leaders, which gave them a better understanding of how and why we make art. Recently we have found that some young people from the other lab we are collaborating with, the RSA Academy in Sandwell, want to create an interactive show for the festival themselves, inspired by the play we performed for them.
The workshops themselves have not always been easy, but we knew that would be the case. We got to run a taster session for our recruitment drive with approximately seventy children which is something we have never even came close to before. But, if we ever have to do that again, now we have this experience to fall back on, so we see every challenge as a lesson. Also, it is sometimes hard to compete with the young people’s attention, as for most, this is the only time when they get to see each other in the week. But, in the end, everyone’s main priority is to create the best festival possible. And our priority is for everyone to grow as performers, to challenge themselves to try new things, and to have fun every workshop.
We will forever be thankful to the Mighty Creatives for this amazing opportunity, for helping us progress our careers and for giving us the chance to meet and work with some amazing young people. We are all excited for the 6th of April and we are sure it is going to be a day to remember for everyone involved.
-Smoking Guns, out