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

Roughshod Blog: Rehearsal Room Wizardry

Emily gives us a glimpse inside the first few weeks of Roughshod rehearsal…

I’m convinced that time passes more quickly in York than anywhere else. I can’t believe we’re halfway through our fourth week; I feel like I’ve been here for five minutes – but that I’ve known everyone forever!

What wizardry is this? I’ve wanted to work for Riding Lights for as long as I can remember, so every day is still a total reality check of ‘how is this actually my life?!’ In four weeks we’ve learnt what feels like a million scripts (but have somehow barely touched upon our main show?) played a lot of drama games, pretended to be reluctant teenagers and uncooperative prisoners, and then delivered workshops to the real thing (thankfully they turned out to be a million times nicer and more insightful than our portrayals!).

Going into the prison has been a highlight for me so far – I’d never been in one before and at first the high fences and heavy doors seemed pretty intimidating. But the men inside them were, of course, just ordinary people who had had some difficulties in their lives. They were friendly, welcoming and really appreciative, participating fully and sharing honestly and openly. It felt like an honour to be trusted with some of their stories.

The thing I was most dreading was the infamous Roughshod personality exercise, through which all our flaws would be laid bare and our darkest secrets exposed (or so I thought). Thankfully it was a far more pleasant experience: we chose two personality archetypes (such as Mother, Child, Hero, Jester, Explorer, Artist, Actress etc.) which we represented though clothes and then had to guess what each other had chosen, and how accurate we thought they were. it was actually really interesting to hear how other people see you, and the success of this was entirely down to the grace, compassion and sensitivity of the other Shoddies (and Paul & Paul, I suppose!). I already feel like these people are going to be friends for life – we haven’t stopped laughing since day one, but have also forged depth and honesty in our team. I’m so excited about the next few months!