The NOW festival process starts early on in the academic year and participants will receive a lot of support and mentoring from the NOW festival team.
Scattered throughout the process the NOW festival team offer a few different workshops. The process starts with an initial workshop about the NOW theme, mental health and how to devise theatre. Other workshops will include more devising support as well as getting the opportunity to work with professional artists. These artists include Maurice Bessman (writer), Darren Suaraz (Choreographer), Paul Furlong (Film Maker) and Carl Cockram (Actor). Each group gets the opportunity to work closely with the artists who supported them in the process of making their piece.
Each group will receive a minimum of two visits. The first visit will be earlier on in the process and the second slightly later on. These visits are to support the groups and group leaders to produce high quality work as well ensure there is an understanding about mental health and the NOW theme. We also offer additional visits for groups who request them or that may need extra support. Our NOW festival team are skilled in both the performing arts and in mental health promotion so will guide and support so that all pieces feel confident and ready for when the NOW festival come along.
Before the festival, we encourage the groups to do a performance in house to their peers in their school or youth group. This performance is firstly a rehearsal for the festival but also an amazing opportunity to share the ideas in the pieces to peers. The Outreach performances is attended by a member of the NOW festival team and can be used as an opportunity to develop ideas and explore mental health further. Also invited to these performances is the CAMHs Keyworker for each school so that those connections can be made and a dialogue can be created about mental health.