Curious Monkey were commissioned by Woodhorn Charitable Trust, through the BAIT programme, to work with people from Ashington on ‘From The Ashes’. From March 2018 -March 2019, the Curious Monkey team collaborated with people of different generations in Ashington to create an audio drama inspired by stories from people in South East Northumberland. Together the group wrote, performed and recorded the radio play to be broadcast on Koast Radio in May 2019.
From The Ashes has been commissioned by Museums Northumberland bait, who work in partnership to support more people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring and high quality arts experiences. The project started in autumn 2017, with wide consultation to find out if there was enthusiasm for shaping and taking part in a long term arts project. This process revealed interest in drama and creative writing, making work inspired by the local area, forming an intergenerational group and sharing completed work with others. We used this knowledge to put on open access drama and creative writing taster
sessions in community venues which attracted more than 60 people between the ages of 8 and 80 years. Feedback sessions developed the project further and as a result, an interest in writing for the radio was discovered. In January 2018, we supported a steering group of people from the area to write a brief for this commission. Three proposals were shortlisted, and following aninterview and creative audition involving 20 local people, Curious Monkey Theatre Company were invited by the group to lead the project, ‘From The Ashes’. From April to December 2018, the group developed characters, script and sound effects, ahead of recording the radio drama at YMCA Northumberland in Ashington. This will be broadcast on Koast FM, Ashington’s local radio station, in May 2019.
Bridie Jackson, Creative Producer, Museums Northumberland bait.
From The Ashes is a radio drama, it is a brand new piece of work that has been co-created by the local community of Ashington and the surrounding area with a team of professional artists. The process has been led by the community members who have given up every Saturday for the last 10 months to work on every aspect from the conception of the idea, to writing the script, rehearsing and recording the radio drama, marketing, organising this event and making a documentary about the process. We started the project not knowing anything other than we were going to make a radio play, we didn’t know how long it would be, what it would be about, what form it would take, how we would write it or who would be in it, we started with a completely blank canvas. The process has not been without its challenges, as is the way when you embark on a journey together with people who’ve not met before where nobody knows exactly where we are headed. We’ve had differences of opinions and interests and there’s been a real mix of people of all different ages from grandchildren to grandparents. At times, we’ve had to be really patient with each other but the journey has been full of exploration, imagination and creativity and has been an absolute joy to work on. People trusted in the process and we all (the Curious Monkey team and the community members) became equal artists in the room, all with our roles, all taking the lead in different aspects of the project. And as the people of Stonebridge do in our story, the people of Ashington have come together, worked incredibly hard, stepped up to the challenge and made this a brilliant project to be a part of. We have produced a great radio drama that we are all incredibly proud of and have all learned so much along the way. I am honoured to have worked with such a brilliant and bonkers team, what a blast we’ve had – I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!
Individuals came and went, but a determined core ensured the script continued to grow from August- December 2018. We thought a lot, had heated discussions, hummed and hawed, created a huge list of characters that we loved, wrote their profiles, gave them dialogue and then wrote them out. We drafted and redrafted precious scenes, got rid of some and honed others. Finally, we had our characters, three episodes and our radio play ‘From the Ashes’
Lorna Windham, Member of the Writers Group
From The Ashes will be broadcast on Koast Radio, 106.6FM.
Episode 1. Monday 13th May, 5.00pm
Episode 2. Monday 20 th May, 5.00pm
Episode 3. Monday 27th May, 5.00m
The episodes will also receive a repeat broadcast on:
Episode 1. Friday 17th May, 10am
Episode 2. Friday 24th May, 10am
Episode 3. Friday 31st May, 10am