Positive Stories for Negative Times, created by Wonder Fools in association with Traverse Theatre, is back following the huge success of the inaugural programme, with Season Two launched at the positive stories website.
The first season, launched in August 2020 as part of the digital Traverse Festival Programme, was created as a direct response to the lack of physical spaces for young people to participate in performance, and the detrimental impact this is having on their mental health and wellbeing. A massive 2,607 young people and 282 groups, from spots as disparate as the Outer Hebrides to Madrid; York to Quebec, performed the first season’s plays. These end next month, making way for a new raft of artists and groups to get involved later this summer although submissions for Season One are still available to watch on the project website.
Season Two, that is aimed at engaging an even broader network of people aged between 6 and 25, has been created with a focus on coming together, embarking on new processes and changing the way we think about theatre for young people. Wonder Fools and the Traverse Theatre have again co-commissioned a new group of the UK’s most prominent artists to create new work relevant to the here and now, which will act as stimulus for creative projects for young people around the world. Sign-ups are open now and the plays will be available from the beginning of September.
Each writer has been working with the newly established Positive Stories Youth Board to ensure that the plays are made for and with young people. As part of the project, participating group leaders will have access to regular online workshops with the seven artists and the Wonder Fools team to build on ideas, provide some pointers on best practice and allow for sharing and discussion between groups and their projects.
The plays, written specifically for our times, will be free to participating groups from September 2021 till March 2022, with groups from anywhere in the world being encouraged to join in and no set outcome or end result having been defined, the focus being on the process. Starting with a Positive Stories play as a stimulus, anything you want can be created – a film, a performance, a piece of music, a letter to their local MP or any other creative outlet. Groups can include youth theatres, schools, colleges or anyone working with young people in need of some creativity and connection with Wonder Fools inviting any group working with young people to get involved.
Established writers involved in the international project are Bryony Kimmings, Douglas Maxwell, Hannah Lavery, Debris Stevenson, The PappyShow, Wonder Fools and Ellen Bannerman.