A group of aspiring writers from Rainham have taken part in a scheme known as ‘Your Story’, a fortnightly writing project conceived and facilitated by local playwright and director Michelle Payne and funded by Creative People in Places’ Havering Changing.
The project consisted of nine would-be writers meeting over Zoom to learn the fundamentals of writing for stage and screen.
“It’s been such a fun process and amazing to meet like-minded people from my hometown” says Michelle who has recently been working with theatres in and around London and Essex including the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, The Bush in Shepherds Bush and Mercury Theatre Colchester. “I noticed a gap for emerging artists and local professionals from Havering so wanted to do something creative that brought members of the community together as well as provide paid work for our own local, professional actors, especially after the year we’ve had for the arts!”
The group connected over Zoom every other Sunday and used a Facebook group to share their work outside of class to ensure progression and to feel confident putting their words out into the world.
Your Story participant and Rainham resident Aman Dhami says “I learned so many skills and techniques from Michelle throughout this course. It was lovely using writing as a release from lockdown and to meet new people in Rainham! Everyone’s stories really came together by the end and what I loved is that they were all so different! It’s going to be amazing seeing the final results and for everyone to see the beauty of this small village. The end was really emotional, saying goodbye to everyone, but we’ve decided to arrange meet-ups for coffee, so I’m hoping it’s not really the end!”
The finalised pieces will be performed by five Havering born-and-bred actors, most of whom have been on our television and big stages across the country. The actors involved are Sharan Atwal, Sean Hinds Jnr, Charlotte Payne, Ashley Runeckles & Tianna Sealy-Jewiss.
Actor Sharan Atwal says ““To have the opportunity to perform authentic monologues from local voices is a real privilege for me. I loved meeting the writers and I’m excited to bring their words to life for the first time.”
Your Story will be free to view on YouTube from 7.30 PM on Monday 14th June 2021 or by visiting michelle-payne.co.uk/