The hunt is on for stories from across Coventry as a new city-wide campaign has been launched to uncover and nurture the voices of residents to become storytellers.
City Voices is the brand new project from Theatre Absolute and the Coventry City of Culture Trust, which is being led by Coventry-based writers Chris O’Connell and Vanessa Oakes.
Workshops are taking place to engage with communities across different locations in the city, bringing people together to share their stories at regular writing groups.
Sessions will take place every week, and last up to two hours, with more dates and locations set to be announced as participants delve into different styles including writing for stage and radio as well trying their hand at contemporary poetry.
The first workshops will take place at the Shop Front Theatre in the City Arcade on Tuesday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 30, between 7pm and 9.30pm.
Workshops will also go ahead at the Broad Street Meeting Hall in Foleshill on Monday, April 26 from 6pm until 8pm and Saturday, May 4 between 11am and 1pm.
Chris O’Connell has written for theatre, television, film, and radio, and for companies such as Frantic Assembly, the RSC, and Paines Plough.
His work for Theatre Absolute also won two Fringe Firsts at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1999 and 2001.
Vanessa Oakes’ work has been performed in theatres, art galleries and museums, community spaces across the country and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain.
She is an experienced workshop leader and has worked extensively with people from all sectors of the community.
Chris, who is a co-founder, writer and artistic director of Theatre Absolute, said: “We’re excited to begin work on City Voices because of both the challenge and the rewards we are sure this will bring to Coventry.
“One of the best parts about working in the heart of a community is the ways in which you are both surprised and inspired by the voices that lie unearthed or hidden in the city.”
Emma Harrabin, of the Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “City Voices is a fantastic way to highlight the role that the people of Coventry have had on its ever-changing cultural landscape by bringing some of their stories to life – and we would love some of those stories to inform our programme in 2021.
“We feel it’s important to give people a platform to share their stories and we’re excited to create this work with Theatre Absolute, who have a proven history of developing and unearthing new voices in the city.
“Chris O’Connell and Vanessa Oakes are both experienced and respected writers, as well as being proud Coventrians, so this is an excellent opportunity for both casual writers and for people who’ve never written creatively before.”
Workshops are free to attend, for ages 16 and upwards.
For further information or to book a place on a City Voices workshop email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07799 292 957.