Meet our 2023/24 Class Act Facilitators

News 18 Dec 2023

We recently caught up with a few of the artists working with the young people of Edinburgh on the 2023/24 edition of Class Act, the Traverse's flagship education programme.

James Ley working with the students of Tynecastle (2022). Credit: Ruari Barber-Fleming

Over the past few months Scottish artists, of varying disciplines, have been working in Edinburgh secondary schools and youth group settings to collaborate with young people and teach them how to make theatre, write scripts and ultimately tell stories.

Director and theatre-maker Jack Nurse (co-writer of Same Team - A Street Soccer Story) has been working with the young people of Craigroyston Community High School, actor/writer/producer Leila Nashef has been heading into Firrhill High School, and playwright James Ley has gotten involved with Class Act for the seventh time, this year at Tynecastle High School.

The real highlights have been seeing the people who were perhaps most suspicious about the idea of writing become the most engaged as the process has progressed - gaining confidence and finding their creative voice - and that demonstrates the real value of the Class Act process.

Jack Nurse

Jack reflected that by working regularly with the young people to develop narratives and instil storytelling techniques, "Class Act wraps the process up in a way that is properly engaging, fun and illuminating ... I'd have loved the opportunity in school to explore playwriting and see that work come to life on a professional stage".

Leila added, "I’m excited by the idea that writing scripts can help young people explore their own ideas about the world and develop confidence in their own voices...I really want the young people I work with to know that what they have to say matters, and that their perspectives on the society they live in mean a lot".

Class Act is a mutually beneficial project such that it's not just the young people that are learning through the process. James highlighted that "the facilitator should be challenged as much as the young people...telling stories is always something you learn to do new every day".

Every season we run Class Act we are never short of being blown away by the young people involved, not just by the stories they come up with but also by the progression they make in their own confidence and self-belief. James told us that "at the beginning I was the story geek and I think by this stage I've got them to geek out with me" and Leila agreed that she's seen a growing in "confidence and boldness".

All of this brilliant work culminates in the Spring with the Class Act Showcase where the young people's writing gets handed over to professional actors and directors and brought to life on stage. This is always a special night and we're expecting nothing less than, as Jack puts it, "jawdrops, laughter and, crucially, a sense of being seen!"

Leila tells us that "it will feel incredibly meaningful and celebratory...building a feeling of connection with the Traverse and with Edinburgh’s theatre making community that I hope will last a long time." This is one of the many special parts of Class Act is that once those scripts hit the stage, the door doesn't close but rather we continue welcoming those young people back to maintain a life long love of theatre and performance.

Come along and support the future of Scottish theatre:

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