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

Update… The Big Yorkshire Youth Theatre Festival

The Big Yorkshire Youth Theatre Festival is just a few months away!

We are excited to be partnering with York Theatre Royal for this celebration of young creativity from across Yorkshire.  Taking place on the weekend of July 21st and 22nd, booking will open soon, but for now get the date in your diary!

The festival will draw youth theatre members from all over the region to York. An amazing chance to share skills, spark creative collaboration, and celebrate some of the fantastic things young people are doing in Yorkshire. The theme will be Theatre in the Past & Theatre in the Future – quite fitting given the presence of the pop-up Shakespearean Rose Theatre in York this summer!

It promises to be brilliant weekend packed with workshops, performances and a chance to meet other youth theatres in Yorkshire. There will also be opportunities to bring a short performance too.

A one day pass for either the Saturday or Sunday costs £20 or £30 to take part in the whole weekend.

We’ll have more information soon, but in the meantime you can email kate.veysey@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk  and we’ll add you to the mailing list and let you know when booking opens.

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.

Roughshod On The Road: Maidenhead

Last Sunday we set off for our second stop of the tour – Maidenhead, where we’d be for 10 days!

Here’s a Roughshod selfie with Jeremy, Joan and Sally – the brilliant vicars from the 3 churches we were working with.

 

For the first week we were linked with 3 local churches and worked in 6 schools delivering in total 4 assemblies, 1 performance and 7 workshops. As well as the schools work, we performed/ worked with a group for adults with additional needs, a messy church event, a church breakfast event and performed our show ‘Deliver’ on the Saturday night.

It was a very busy week but filled with lots of new experiences for both the churches/schools and the roughshod team. A highlight for me (as well as being back near my home turf down south) was being able to make hundreds of children (plus their teachers) laugh and smile at the start of each day and having such a positive response from all the schools. It’s the first time that Roughshod has visited Maidenhead and it’s amazing to see the great impact that it’s made on all parts of the community!

Martha 🙂

Roughshod On The Road: Newcastle

Newcastle – our first stop as the Roughshod Deliver company. And what a week we had! By numbers: 1 church service, 1 ex-offenders meeting, 1 full show, 2 school assemblies (covering tiny tots to sixth-formers) and 9 hours of workshops, reaching over 700 people.

A highlight: We performed at a Junction 42 meeting for ex-offenders. We spent some time singing with everyone there – seriously, like nothing else! – and then we performed about 40 minutes of our sketches. During our finale of Amazing Grace the whole audience joined in – eclipsing us quite spectacularly. The sense of freedom in that room was almost tangible. One man had decided to follow Christ at last year’s Roughshod performance. It was humbling and edifying to find out what had happened in his life since then and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

It has been a great start to the tour, and hopefully the first of many action packed weeks. If you want to keep up with where we are and what we’re doing, why not give us a follow. We’re on facebook, twitter and instagram. We’ll have plenty more to shout about…

Cheers, Jared

Support needed for Acting Up!

We have recently learned that the Children In Need funding for Acting Up! has not been renewed.

Acting Up! is our Youth Theatre with extra provision for young people with additional needs and disabilities. We have an amazing group of young people and practitioners involved, and it provides a unique space for creativity in York. Therefore we are fighting to keep Acting Up! running, looking for extra funding and planning how we can keep it going. However it costs a little more to run than our other Youth Theatres, employing extra, specialist staff who make sure everyone who comes to the sessions is properly supported.

 

We’ve already raised a very generous £3000 at our Members’ Day at the start of March. This will help cover our costs and pay staff up until the Summer half term, giving us a vital buffer while we find an alternative source of funding for this unique Youth Theatre.

Can you help?

We’d like to raise more, making sure we can run Acting Up! for another year. Our target is £9000 to see us through to next February. We are pursuing various possibilities because Acting Up! is a hugely important and vulnerable part of the Riding Lights family.

Donate via Just Giving

Please help if you can. Small gifts add up surprisingly quickly and we are grateful for each one. If you would like more information, or would like to donate via another method other than Just Giving, give us a call on 01904 655317 or email info@rltc.org

Thank you!

The People’s Passion: Performances this Easter

There are a number of churches who are running a People’s Passion event this Easter.

A powerful piece of theatre and worship, The People’s Passion brings a whole congregation together to witness the events of Jesus’ last week.  There is a part for everyone and no rehearsal needed, so if you are near one of these events and would like to attend you would be very welcome.

Here’s a list of the performances we’re aware of…

People’s Passion: Public Performances

 

Date Venue More Info
Sunday 25th March
(9am & 10.45am)
Christchurch Ilkley
The Grove, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9LW
(01943) 603209
church website
Sunday 25th March
(6.00pm)
St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray
Burton Street, Melton Mowbray, LE13 1AE
(01664) 503530
church website
Sunday 25th March
(6.30pm)
Springdale Methodist Church
Warstones Road, Penn, Wolverhampton, WV4 4LE
(1902) 330614
Sunday 25th March
(7.00pm)
Saltburn Learning Campus
Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn, TS12 1HJ
(01287) 639435
Thursday 29th March
(7.00pm)
St Andrew’s Church, York
Huntington Road, York, YO32 9PX
01904 768006
Friday 30th March
(2.00pm)
Christ Church Stannington
Church Street, Stannington, Sheffield, S6 6DB
church website
Friday 30th March
(4.00pm)
Trinity United Reformed Church, Wimbledon
Mansel Road, Wimbledon, SW19 4AA
church website
Sunday 1st April
(10.30am)
Park Road Baptist Church
Park Road, Rushden, NN10 0LH
07742190367
Sunday 1st April
(10.45am)
Bridge Baptist Church
Loushers Lane, Latchford, Warrington, WA4 2RP
(01925) 354545