Stories To Survive To
Stories to Survive to brought together our oldest group The Women’s Creative Company, and our newest collaborators Social Bite’s Women’s Group. Between March and June 2019, the two groups worked with Fringe First Award winning playwright Lynda Radley to create and present short pieces of new writing that tell stories of resilience and hope; that celebrate the strength of women pushed to the margins.
This project was our way of resisting the image of ‘victim’ often cast upon women facing homelessness whilst trying to offer a counter-narrative to the perception of women struggling to survive as inherently vulnerable or weak. The project focused on developing the participants imaginative voices, crafting individual and collective experiences into performative stories. Our aim was to connect the women with a creative project that facilitated them to craft their experiences, develop a creative voice and strengthen confidence in expressing ideas and concerns.
To mark the project coming to an end the two groups and Lynda worked with designer Saffa Khan and illustrator Jenny Soep to create a beautiful zine publication of the works that had been created, which can viewed here.
The publication was launched at a celebratory sharing event at Scottish Youth Theatre in June 2019, where the group's works were performed to a public audience by professional actors, Maryam Hamidi, Belle Jones, Patricia Panther and Stephen Rae. At one very moving moment, one of our participants from Social Bite's Women's group was confident enough to perform her own piece, and did so alongside the actors. The event was photographed by Shared Space Associate Artist Najma Abuka, and two films were created by Jassy Earl.
"It built up my confidence level, I wrote my own true story which I never felt able to do before." Participant, Social Bite
As part of the process, audio recordings of the pieces were captured, by sound artist Fiona Jones. This has allowed us to, along with the zine, provide a lasting legacy for the project.
We consider Stories to Survive to to be a pilot project, one that has the capacity to grow into a longer-term partnership between AMP and the Social Bite women's group and one that could be adapted to be delivered with a range of women’s groups. If you are interested in taking part in a new version of the Stories to Survive to project please get in touch
Stories to Survive to was made possible by our partners and funders:
I enjoyed it very much and made lots of friends. It was really good, brought us together." Participant Social Bite
People spoke about the release of being able to speak about difficult things, and also about being able to free themselves by placing it in art, outside of themselves... community. Connection was the theme throughout for both groups.
Lead Artist, Lynda Radley
"It means a lot to me. Makes me feel so good. I have depression
but everybody in here makes me feel different. I’m in the community."
Participant, Stories to Survive to
Normally I wouldn’t have confidence to go to theatre on my own but because we were part of a group, it felt ok and relaxed."
Participant, Social Bite
"The zine was fantastic, it gave the participants something tangible to have as a memento to the project and it was nice watching them all looking for their name, work and photos. I loved watching their excitement in going to the event and being so engaged at the performance. I spoke to one women who brought her young child and she said she felt relaxed and not intimidated; everyone, including cast were welcoming."
Volunteer, Sories to Survive to
"I liked it because it gave us forward vision. It was remarkable."
Participant, stories to survive to
"I met many people I never met before and I am proud that they think I can write something. I am alive, I have some breathing space."
Participant, Stories to Survive to