Roughshod on the Road: Reigate

After three weeks of mini-tour, myself and the rest of Roughshod were excited to get back, and get stuck into the life and work of a local community. And we couldn’t have been happier than to partner with the one and only Charles Merritt (former two times shoddie from Roughshod 2015 and 2016) and the team at St Mary’s Reigate.  Here he is recreating the Sisteen Chapel with Jared. (No, we’ve no idea why either.)

Upon arrival, it was brilliant to meet the wonderful community at St Mary’s. We had the pleasure of delivering our workshop ‘Peace in Our Time’ to a number of their youth groups, and we were hugely challenged by the passion the young people had for justice in their communities, and were encouraged by the words of one recently baptised teenager, who said that the workshop gave her an insight into what her faith could look like in day to day life.

This encouragement from the St Mary’s Youth groups was only built up further, by the audience’s of Year 7’s and Year 8’s in two of the local schools. Their interaction with the Q&As after our performances was hugely insightful, and particularly how moved they were by ‘Trafficked’ – our verbatim piece exploring the lives of survivors of human trafficking – was particularly touching.

Finally, we had the chance to enjoy the incredible sunshine (not something you often get to say in the UK), perform ‘Deliver’ at two packed churches on the Friday and Saturday, before rounding our week off with a Sunday morning service (featuring ‘The Dan Rap’).

Andrew

Roughshod On The Road: Mini-Tour

 

The last three weeks we’ve been on mini tour, driving all around the country doing a show at a different church each night. It’s been exhausting but a lot of fun!

One of the highlights for me was to be able to take all the shoddies home with me to Thirsk for the first show. To have my family and friends there to watch made it a special but nerve-racking experience, and I felt extremely blessed to have the support of the rest of the team that night (they in turn got fed a lot of cake by my fantastic parents!)

Another highlight was finding so many Riding Lights Members in the audiences when we’ve been performing, some of whom we last saw at members day back in March. Without our incredibly generous Members Roughshod’s work would not possible, so it was wonderful for us to be able thank some of them face to face for their support.

Next, we’ve got a few days off now to recover our energy before we set off again, this time to Reigate!

Esther

Summer Theatre School 2018: Course Tutors

We can now announce the tutors for all seven of our courses at this year’s Summer Theatre School.

There are lots of familiar faces for any of you who are returning for 2018, plus a couple of new ones. John Holden-White will bring his touring knowledge of a different drum to RL Express as they create their own production of this Riding Lights classic. Meanwhile Becky Peacock from Rhema Theatre Company will be joining Stage By Stage and Fiona Peck will be returning to help with Face The Music.

Equally exciting Owen Kingston is part of our big immersive theatre production created by both Get Your Act Together and The Full Works. Owen directed For King And Country, which is currently going down a storm at London’s CoLab Factory. Sign up for a unique chance to try your hand at a very different style of theatre.

 

Here’s a quick summary of the courses and tutors:

RIDING LIGHTS EXPRESS (age 14-18)
Tutors: John Holden-White & Sally Maddison

When plague suddenly arrives in the Derbyshire village of Eyam, the people face a nightmarish choice – flee or sacrifice themselves to stop the disease spreading? Tell inspiring stories of generosity and heroism from across the world all woven into our production of a different drum.

FACE THE MUSIC (age 14-18)
Tutors: Erin Burbridge, Tim Burnage & Fiona Peck

Create a dynamic new musical inspired by the 1930’s novel Brave New World and music from the contemporary hit show Songs for a New World.

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER (age 19-25)
Tutors: Jon Boustead, Owen Kingston & Abigail Oscroft

The Full Works and Get Your Act Together are joining forces to create an extra-ordinary, large scale piece of theatre. Led by the director of London’s newest immersive theatre venues, come and join this course to push the boundaries and engage the audience in a memorable way.

THE FULL WORKS (age 19-90)
Tutors: Jon Boustead, Owen Kingston & Abigail Oscroft

The Full Works and Get Your Act Together are joining forces to create an extra-ordinary, large scale piece of theatre. Led by the director of London’s newest immersive theatre venues, come and join this course to push the boundaries and engage the audience in a new and memorable way.

STAGE BY STAGE (age 19-90)
Tutors: Peter Hutchinson & Becky Peacock

100 years on from when women finally achieved the right to vote, Stage by Stage celebrates the dramatic struggle of the suffragettes with a spectacular staging of Bridget Foreman’s acclaimed community play, Everything is Possible (first performance at York Theatre Royal in 2017).

THREE ENTERPRISE (age 19-90) – COURSE FULL
Tutors: Paul Burbridge & Rich Hasnip

This popular course returns for a second year allowing participants to hone their skills in two of three theatre disciplines: acting, writing or directing. Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a Dream…’ speech will be the spring-board for Three Enterprise theatre-makers to create stirring mini-dramas on the theme of Justice.

TECHNICAL THEATRE (Age 16 – 90)
Tutor: Ollie Brown

This highly practical courses returns! Discover how to stage-manage a show successfully, rig and operate lighting and sound, as well as work with a director to bring one of the Summer School shows to life and to light.

So, has a particular course caught your eye or peaked your creative interest? If so, you can apply here.

Roughshod on the Road: Wendover

This week I got to take the shoddies to my home: Buckinghamshire! We spent 4 days based with the youth centre in a small market town – Wendover.
It was a lovely change being in a small town where we could walk to everything (a nice break from the van!) and we really became a part of the community for those few days, being involved in a variety of events and working closely with the youth centre and two churches.
We did a total of 7 workshops over 2 days! 6 in the local primary school and 1 with a youth club. We also did a short performance and games with another youth club, a public show on the Saturday night and even joined in with the local parade at the town’s summer festival, where we then did some street theatre too!
Face painting was also offered at the summer festival and, well, you can see what happened…
It was a very busy 4 days but a highlight for me was delivering the workshop to the Thursday night youth group (a group that I was youth worker at before joining roughshod). We are so used to delivering workshops in schools but doing one in a youth club was an exciting change because we were able to work really closely with a small group of young people and help them think creatively about how they can be peace makers in everyday lives.  It was great fun bringing Roughshod to Wendover, and the town definitely appreciated it!
Thanks for reading,
Martha

Roughshod on the Road: TKC York

Ten whole days in York!

It’s been very strange to be back at base camp – not least after two weeks out of England. Although we were ‘home’ we were working hard supporting York churches and schools as they took part in this worldwide week of prayer. Taken from a line in the Lord’s Prayer these “Thy Kingdom Come” events were all about seeing the Kingdom Of God here “on earth as it is in heaven”. It was great to have a sense of being part of a bigger event with activity across the country and not just York..

It was great to connect back in with our ‘home’ community. We got the change to do more street theatre, after our first outing in Northern Ireland,this time in York city centre, plus a performance on the York walls. (Perhaps the most unique performance venue so far?) The days had a real party vibe with music from various performers and great pieces of art from YWAM. We even performed at a community fun day celebrating the royal wedding.

We performed a couple of full shows too and a real highlight was having Archbishop Sentamu along for the performance at St. Chads. All in all we have been deeply encouraged by these ten days, and I hope that in turn we’ve done the same for others in this remarkable city.

Jared

Roughshod on the Road: Northern Ireland

This week I went home… and took the rest of Roughshod with me.

One of the privileges of working as a Shoddie is the chance to share life with so many different communities, but there was something special (at least for me) about taking the vital Roughshod work to Northern Ireland.

After a brilliant week in Scotland, we found ourselves in the North West of Ireland and immediately experienced the hospitality of the people (a selection of four desserts at one dinner time is how you do it). We had the opportunity to work in one of the local schools, providing workshops and performances to young people throughout the whole school. The responses were overwhelming, with one student commenting that our modern-day adaptations of bible stories helped them truly ‘get it’ for the first time.

Afterwards, we moved across country to Holywood – a little town on the outskirts of Belfast – and found ourselves doing work in all manner of venues. Whether performing in churches, prisons, schools, and for the first time in this tour – on the street, we had the chance to see the vastness of the work we do, and were warmly received by all!

Although, I hasten to add that this week wasn’t all work. I had the chance to take the rest of the Shoddies to see the sites (Giants Causeway anyone?) and even introduced them to the delights of an Ulster Fry.

In all this – whether performing hard-hitting drama to young offenders, or witnessing primary school children spontaneously clapping along to ‘Amazing Grace’ – I felt truly blessed, and privileged, to perform theatre full of ‘faith, hope and everything inbetween’ in the places, and to the people, close to my heart.

Andrew

Roughshod On The Road: Scotland

A week in numbers. 7 performances in 5 prisons, 3 public performance in 3 cities. Oh and countless numbers of sandwiches!

We’ve been invited up to Scotland by Junction 42 to help them launch some of their projects north of the boarder. We’ve worked with Junction 42 regularly in Newcastle and see some of the fantastic work they do supporting offenders and ex-offenders, creating a bridge back in to the community and helping them find independence.

Working in prisons again also gave us the chance to pull out some of the material we had not performed for a few weeks. We all enjoyed being able to do the full show as well as experiencing our first prisons on tour. We spent the week laughing, singing and talking with many men from all walks of life in the prisons, helping them think about faith and forgiveness. Here we are with Dorothy and David at the end of one of the workshops in a prison chapel.

At the close of each set we always perform Amazing Grace by John Newton encouraging the men to join in if they know it. To our joy one or two men would always join in the singing in each show. The opportunity to worship without pretence with them was a privilege, a really touching moment.

At the weekend we were really lucky to get some gorgeous weather in Edinburgh, and we got a bit of time relaxing in Mugdock Park outside Glasgow before our public performance there! Next week we are really excited to be travelling to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Roughshod hasn’t been over there for over 10 years). Wish us luck for a smooth ferry crossing!

Beth

Surprise Ending at the Big City Read

We’re delighted to announce that Riding Lights are part of York’s Big City Read 2018, bringing a new theatrical element to this yearly celebration of reading. Commissioned by Explore York Libraries, Bridget Foreman is writing Surprise Ending, a one act play all about the joy of reading.

This is all taking place in the autumn of 2018, when we’ll be touring the performance to libraries, mobile libraries, reading cafes and some other specially selected venues in and around the city. Performances of Surprise Ending start on the 10th October.

The book chosen for this year’s Big City Read is The Radleys by Matt Haig. Matt is a former resident of York and has close ties with the city and 5000 free copies of the book will will be distributed from 21 September. The whole programme of events will take place from the 20 September to 16 November 2018.

Watch this space for updates on Riding Lights’ involvement, and you can find out more about the whole Big City Read event at exploreyork.org.uk/bigcityread

Roughshod On The Road: Manchester

This week we’ve been based in Manchester at Loreto Sixth Form College. It’s been an exciting change to spend a whole week working in the same school working alongside the staff and students of the RE department.

We performed to and worked with over 1,000 students aged 16-17 over 5 days, giving 14 performances and 4 workshops! We saw lots of wonderful debates take place between students of all faiths as we asked them to think and question their own opinions about Jesus and Christianity. Burger Van Prodigal (our modern version of the Prodigal Son) has also sparked a few debates. One student questioned whether the story suggested you shouldn’t ‘follow your dreams’. This led to a really good discussion about responsibility and what the parable might mean. A particular highlight for me was hearing many of the students talk so openly and passionately about their personal relationships with God in front of their classmates – something I would never have had the courage to do at their age!

We enjoyed a lovely sunny day off together over the weekend having a well-deserved rest. We even found an old Riding Lights book on the shelves at our hosts house and read a few classic sketches. Here’s Jared trying out his one-man Dan Rap!

Then it was on to Edinburgh for the next leg of the tour!

Esther

 

Roughshod On The Road: Maidenhead pt.2

We can never say no to food and we were each given an Easter egg from the team at Larchfield Community Centre. Thank you if you’re reading this!

Not content with spending just a week in Maidenhead, we were excited to be spending a further few days there before the Easter weekend. We had more fun working with primary and secondary school students and performing for adults and families in community centres, which provoked some wonderful reactions including people singing along with our rendition of Amazing Grace. On top of the schools and events of the previous week, we delivered a further 3 assemblies, 3 workshops and performed various extracts from our repertoire twice.

My personal highlight this week was performing The People’s Passion with our base churches in the Town Hall. The People’s Passion is an instant passion play, allowing groups to perform the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We used it as an act of worship as part of a Palm Sunday service. It was clear how moved people were by being able to picture the events in front of them. Everyone really enjoyed it and performing in a space that was the closest to a theatre we had experienced up to that point, was a bonus!

We have some exciting events lined up over the next couple of weeks which we are really looking forward to. But for now, the remainder of our Easter eggs and some rest calls!

Beth.