James Baldwin on running a Create Live! project

James Baldwin is a professional theatre maker/writer and Create artist. As our new project concept Create Live! came together we worked with James to develop a creative online radio drama project for young carers in Ealing/Hounslow.

Create Live! is Create’s online, interactive project initiative developed to reach participants during the lockdown, offering a creative lifeline to the most vulnerable children and adults in isolation.

“Keeping the work rooted in the principles of face-to-face workshop is central to developing a workshop for Create Live! delivery. The key is flexibility and being able to think on the spot. You need to have more than enough material, which is a potential difficulty when you’re working online. You can generate 100 hours’ worth of games and activities but how many of those games will work when all you have is a small screen? Drama games are often about improvisation and being able to read people’s body language, so adapting drama games to work online took some ingenuity.

“When technology becomes a faff you have to prioritise the workshop goals and keeping it all fun. Throughout the planning of the workshop I was asking myself “why are we doing that game?” and “what are we trying to achieve?”. Making a group connection is tricky when you’re disconnected physically. So, it’s important to prioritise things that might seem small but make the participants feel comfortable. For example, letting them know that their name is on the screen and making sure they have it displayed how they want it. It’s about being able to embrace the technology to achieve your aim: to have fun and make the participants feel valued.

It’s about being able to embrace the technology to achieve your aim: to have fun and make the participants feel valued.

“What does translate really well from face-to-face to online, is making yourself the example. If you want people to be a bit daft you have to demonstrate that by being super daft. And if you want people to be serious, you demonstrate that by being more serious.

“The young people were interested in so many things: COVID-19, power dynamics, global warming, magic. Being able to harness all these ideas as a facilitator and enabling the young people to write a script about the things that matter to them, but also offers an element of escapism, is important.

“So this script took the idea of global warming and it took the idea of COVID-19 but it used the idea of wizardry and sorcery to take these ideas into a magic realm. The young people are able to express what they want about the pandemic and all the things that are important to their lives, but with an element of escapism because you’ve changed the rules of that world to incorporate magic and wizardry and witchcraft.”

Follow James Baldwin on twitter or check out his website for his latest news.