A group of people in a discussion during aworkshop
The first Young People's Arts and Performance Workshop with Mind Out theatre and Bulwell Arts Festival included crafts and creative discussions. (Credit: Mind Out) 

“We hope to answer a real need,” says Evangeline ‘Evie’ Osbon (they/them), co-leader of the Young People’s Art and Performance Workshops, created in partnership with Mind Out theatre and Bulwell Arts Festival.

“Nicola and I realised that there’s a group of young people from Bulwell who identify as LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent, who also experience mental health issues and actually need a creative outlet,” says Evie, who is also the artistic director at Mind Out.  

The idea for a young people’s creative workshop stemmed from Evie’s conversation with Nicola Curzon, coordinator of Bulwell Arts Festival, who is also an actor, director, and a creative producer. 

The first workshop was held on Monday, June 3, at the Tesco Community Room in Bulwell.  

It was aimed at young LGBTQ+ people between 11 and 16-years-old who experience mental health issues, are neurodivergent, or have questions about their gender identity.  

From games about their names to imagining their alter egos, the young people’s workshop included open-minded discussions as well as crafts.  

A group of young people showing their drawings at a workshop
Young people were encouraged to draw as part of the workshop. (Credit: India Martin)

One young participant says, “I’ve felt the most understood in this session,” they added that it was a nice experience to be able to relate to people.  

Another young participant says, “I enjoyed everything, and the free food was good.”  

Evie adds, “Everyone ended the session with big smiles on their faces and feeling much more relaxed than at the beginning.” 

Parents and carers aren’t encouraged to join the young group’s workshop, since it is supposed to create a safe space for them, but they can wait around in the nearest café to pick up their teenagers. 

The workshops are funded by Arts Council England and they have a budget for travelling.  

“If anyone experiences barriers getting to the venue due to whatever reason that may be, and if anyone would like to get involved, but doesn’t quite know how they might be able to get there, we might be able to support them with that,” explains Evie.  

Evie facilitated the workshop alongside Ben Macpherson (he/him), both wear multiple hats, being co-leaders for the event, performers, theatre makers and producers.  

“Working with community groups easily reminds you of how much creativity there is all around you.

“From points of connection to radical ideas, projects like this make you open your mind and create in the best way,” says Ben. 

A black and white portrait of a woman
‘We realised that young LGBTQ+ people in Bulwell needed a creative outlet’ – Evangeline ‘Evie’ Osbon (Credit: Charlotte East Photography)

The next workshops, lined up for June 10 and 17 at the same venue, will see more drama and performances. 

The Young People’s Arts and Performance workshops are categorised in two age groups. 

The adult workshops are for people who are 18 or older. Their aim is to unpack bigger and more intense themes such as “intersectionality and privilege, disability rights, justice and queer liberation, and also looking at what people’s experiences are of engaging with job centres, including the Department of Work and Pensions.”  

Experiences and learnings from the adult workshops will also feed into Evie’s new play, titled Them?, directed by Velenzia Spearpoint, artistic director of The Bread & Roses Theatre, Clapham.  

Them? is a dark comedy about Mir’s realisation of themselves as non-binary and their experience at a local job centre. The play explores issues of identity, privilege, and mental health.

Meanwhile, the young people’s workshops are based around building confidence and celebrating their queerness and identity, creating a safe space to be creative while being the most authentic to themselves.