Wonder Fools are inviting any group working with young people ages between 8 and 25 from anywhere in the world to get involved remotely. Priority will be given to Scotland based groups to take part in the festivals. 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 don’t worry you’ll get a handbook full of drama exercises to help you through.
Like the previous season, 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 continuing to support group leaders with access to regular online workshops including masterclasses with the six playwrights and the Wonder Fools team. There will also be informative workshops on preparing for your groups stage performance at one of our regional hubs if you choose to go down this path.
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.
We are currently taking expressions of interest to take part in the Positive Stories Festivals, you’ll see this towards the end of the sign up form. If selected, we’ll let you know week commencing 27 February, send you more information about the festival and ask you to confirm your place.
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 do need to be able to answer all of the questions on the sign up form before you submit, however, you’ll be able to sign up to the project until Friday 26th May 2023 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 in Positive Stories for Negative Times, so take your time.
Please note – if you are interested in taking part in one of the Positive Stories for Negative Times Festivals there is an earlier deadline of submission. Please see our Festival FAQs for more information.
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 be available soon and will hopefully give you a good sense of what the whole script is like and will be available from the 23rd of January 2023.
I’ve read the full play and now I don’t think it’s suitable for my group. What should I do?
Please get in touch with one of our participation associates, Lisa or Gemma. 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.
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 artists – this is called a license. This is to make sure that their work is being 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 Gemma or Lisa 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. All we ask is that you share with us what you end up doing. This might be a film, photographs, drawings, an example or writing – any form of documentation will do.
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. 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 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 are bringing back two scripts from season 2 – these are Thanks for Nothing by The PappyShow with Lewis Hetherington and Revolting by Bryony Kimmings. Both of these processes are 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 or perhaps want to try something new!
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 and participants aged 14 and over 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, we repeat the workshops in two cycles and endeavour to have a variety of days and times across both cycles to offer as much opportunity for participants from a variety of working patterns to attend.
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 are always more than happy to chat to any groups who have any questions or need a bit of support.
What is the deadline to apply for the festivals?
Any groups interested in taking part in the project and bringing a performance to one of the festivals must sign up by Friday 17th February 2023. We cannot accept any applications for the festivals after this date. We’ll let you know if you’ve been selected week commencing 27 February.
Is the project still free if you are selected to attend one of the festivals?
Yes! Positive Stories for Negative Times is always completely free for participants. Of course we appreciate that attending the festivals will mean that groups will incur costs including travel, food and potentially accommodation. We appreciate that some groups may be able to cover these costs themselves but we also have bursaries available to contribute to these costs.
I want to sign up with more than one group – is it possible that all of my groups would be selected for the festival?
We only have a limited number of performance slots at each festival so we are more likely to select one group from each organisation who applies.
How do I apply for a bursary for the festival?
You can indicate your interest in applying for a bursary in the sign up form and a member of the Wonder Fools team will follow up with you. We have a simple form for you to fill out outlining what you need help with. We endeavour to support as many groups as we can but only have a limited number of bursaries available.
How much bursary can my group apply for?
We have a limited amount of bursaries to help groups access the festival. These are small pots of money and will be a contribution to costs such as travel. Not all groups participating in the festival will be able to receive a bursary and we will groups prioritise those we feel are in most need. Amounts will vary depending on what people need and how many groups require assistance. Groups will also be expected to do their own fundraising where possible and we’ll send you lots of information with hints and tips of how to do this such as sponsored events and more formal fundraising. If you express your interest in a bursary we will outline the available funds in our follow up to confirm your place..
Can my group attend one of the festivals if we are not based in Scotland?
Unfortunately, for Season 3, we have to prioritise groups who are local to the partner festival venues. This means we will only have groups based in Scotland performing at the festivals.
How will groups be picked for the festivals?
The Positive Stories for Negative Times team will meet with each partner venue to look at festival applications. Again, we will prioritise groups who are local to the venue as well as looking to host groups from a variety of backgrounds as well as programming as many of the plays as possible.
I’m the group leader and I can’t make any of the intensive days – does this mean my group can’t come to the festival?
To be included in the festival you’d also need to commit to attending the spring workshop day, with two members of your group, at the festival venue you have been selected for. This is a key opportunity to meet other groups who will be at the festival and getting a sense of the venue you will be performing in.
It may be that you can send another member of staff or a volunteer from your organisation in your place so there is still representation from your organisation.
**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.