Wonder Fools are inviting any group working with young people aged between 6 and 25 to get involved. Groups can include youth theatres, schools, colleges or anyone working with young people in need of some creativity and connection. If you’ve never made a theatre performance before then do not worry, our handbook provides a step-by-step guide through the process. The project is designed to work either live in the space, through blended learning or completely online.
This year, there’s no set outcome, it’s all about going on a process together. Start with a Positive Stories play as a stimulus and then create anything you want. Here are a few examples of what you could produce:
This season we are also supporting group leaders. Once signed up, group leaders will have access to regular online workshops including masterclasses with the seven playwrights and the Wonder Fools team, a practitioner forum to share ideas and best practice and regular meet ups to talk about your projects.
More information about our workshop programme is here.
To get started simply fill out the form on our sign up page. Then one of our team will get back to you about next steps and to learn more about your group.
Once signed up you and your group will be sent your chosen script to perform rights free or use as a stimulus, as well as a handbook of exercises to help their group explore the work. You will be given a pin on the map and page on the website where we will celebrate your work with other groups around the UK and beyond.
How much does it cost?
Nothing! Positive Stories for Negative Times is a completely free project. There are no costs to participate whatsoever.
How do I get involved?
There is a sign up form here on the website. Once you have filled out the sign up form you will hear from a member of the Wonder Fools Team.
I can’t answer all of the answers on the form straight away, can I still sign up?
You’ll be able to sign up to the programme until March 2022 with final submissions open until July so there’s no rush if you need a bit more time to talk to your group, there’s also no limit to how many groups can take part so take your time. On the other hand, we know that things change so if you sign up and plans change then just let us know.
Can I sign up with more than one group?
Yes! We would love as many groups as possible to sign up. You may be part of one school/ organisation but have a few different age groups that you would like to be involved and might want to work on different scripts. Go for it! There is an option for this in the sign up process.
Can I read all the plays before I decide which to work on?
Unfortunately not. As Positive Stories for Negative Times is a free project we can only send full scripts to groups who have signed up and we can only send the play(s) that group has chosen to work on. We do have extracts of each script on the website for you to read before choosing. These extracts will hopefully give you a good sense of what the whole script is like and will be available from the beginning of September.
I’ve read the full play and now I don’t think its suitable for my group. What should I do?
Please get in touch with one of our participation associates, Lisa or Gemma or our schools producer Eilidh, to chat this through. They will be the ones who process your sign up and will be your point of contact throughout the project. We can always talk you through the other scripts and see whether we can arrange a swap for you.
Does the project still to need to be delivered digitally?
No, not at all. We understand that now restrictions are lifting lots of groups will be keen to get back to face to face delivery. This means we anticipate lots of groups creating something live this time round and that’s absolutely welcome. However, if you are still meeting digitally (or maybe doing a mix of both) this project is still for you!
I’m from a school – can I still sign up?
Absolutely! We’ve had plenty of primary and secondary schools get involved with Positive Stories for Negative Times and we would love that to continue.
Why do I need to sign a contract?
In order to be able to give out the plays for free Wonder Fools have agreements with all of the seven artists – this is called a license. This is to make sure that their work is being is credited in the appropriate way, copyright isn’t broken and that we aren’t making lots of money off the back of their work (we’re not!). As part of the sign up process you’ll be sent a contract which you’ll need to sign to complete your registration. This might look scary but really isn’t, the main points are about crediting the writer and partners correctly and not using the script to create anything outside of the project. If you have any questions please do get in touch with either Eilidh (schools) or Gemma/ Lisa (groups) who will help you out.
Do I need to stage the whole script?
No! We completely appreciate that every group participating in Positive Stories for Negative Times will be coming to the project from lots of different places and putting together a whole play might not work for everyone. Maybe you just want to do half? Or a few scenes? That’s absolutely fine by us. The most important thing is that you and your groups enjoy taking part and have some fun.
I’m really interested in the project but I don’t know if I want to make a play – can I still get involved?
Yes! The first round of Positive Stories for Negative Times taught us that creativity can come in so many different forms. Who would have thought at the start of last year we would be performing live online or creating short films? With this in mind we would love you to take the script and approach it however suits your group. Maybe you want to make a short film, a podcast, a photography exhibition, an album or whatever else comes to mind. We would love to see lots of different approaches to the scripts and for them to be used as a stimulus for whatever creative outlet you like.
Once we’ve created our performance – can I use the script again?
Unfortunately not, Wonder Fools only have the rights to these scripts for the duration of the project. So once you have finished working on it you can’t repeat the process. However, you could sign up for another of the seven scripts, just get in touch with Eilidh, Gemma or Lisa to discuss this.
My group prefer devising work rather than scripted plays. Is this project right for me?
Yes! We are really excited because this year we have two scripts that will be less traditional in their format and more about leading a group through a devising process to create their own work in response to a series of prompts and exercises. Perfect for groups who are not as keen on scripts. These are Thanks for Nothing by The PappyShow and Revolting by Bryony Kimmings.
Can we use music in our performance?
You can, however, if you use licensed music in your piece there is a chance it would be removed from our website. We would suggest looking for rights free music on youtube (there’s absolutely loads!) or if it’s within your capacity you could have a sound designer or composer work with you to create music. Perhaps you have some musical young people who could create music for you! There will be more information about where to find rights free music in the handbook given to you when you sign up.
Who are the play/meets for?
The Play/Meets are for group leaders. They’re an opportunity for peer support, to ask questions about how other groups are approaching their scripts and of course to meet other people who are taking part in the project! There will also be chance for young people to meet later in the project.
Who are the workshops for?
Workshops are also for group leaders to offer you some free professional development and to meet the artists behind the project. All will be online so can be accessed remotely.
I can’t make any of the workshops – will these be recorded?
Unfortunately not but don’t worry, there will be another batch of workshops announced for the spring many of which will repeats of the current programme so you’ll be able to catch them then.
I’ve never done any drama with my group before – can I still take part?
Yes. Positive Stories for Negative Times is a project for anyone to get involved in. We are really excited to be providing a series of workshops this year to help support group leaders from all levels of experience to feel confident in working on this project with their group. On top of that, when you sign up you’ll also get a free handbook jam packed full of exercises and top tips for working on a script with your group and making whatever creative thing you like!
If we create a live performance, what do we submit to the website? Do we need to get a camera to record everything?
If you have access to a camera and would like to submit a recording that would be great. However, we appreciate this isn’t accessible for everyone. Our website is a celebration of all the brilliant work that participating groups have created so whatever you can submit would be welcome. Perhaps this is a few production pictures, a voice note extract of the script, a short video clip recorded on a phone, interviews with the young people during rehearsals. Whatever we can pop up on our website to share is more than welcome.
Will I be able to talk to anyone if my group need a bit of extra support?
Of course, our participation associates Lisa and Gemma, and schools producer Eilidh, are always more than happy to chat to any groups who have any questions or need a bit of support.
**Please note, if you have any other questions that aren’t covered here and would like to chat to someone about the project our participation associates Lisa or Gemma would be happy to have a phonecall/zoom to talk you through the project.