On Saturday 29 October teenagers in Worcester will be taking control of St John's library and performing live to a worldwide audience.
12 Worcestershire teenagers have signed up to the project A Place Free of Judgement working with award-winning artists Blast Theory and author Tony White to re-imagine and re-write the story of libraries and their place in the world. This work and that of teenagers from other areas, will come to life in an ambitious and fun 9-hour takeover of three West Midlands libraries, starting in Telford (3pm–6pm), then Cannock (6pm–9pm) and ending in Worcester (9pm–midnight).
Through a series of workshops the young people involved have been invited to reimagine the role of libraries as cultural centres and explore the power of storytelling. The stories that have been developed will be read and streamed live on http://aplacefreeofjudgement.co.uk from 3pm–midnight on Saturday 29 October 2016.
Anyone can log in to the project webpage to listen to the readings and add to the stories. As the stories build over the evening, acclaimed author Tony White will bring them to life with new readings by him or the teenagers every hour. Visitors can also book a place to come and listen to a reading in person at St John's Library (WR2 5AX) at 9.30-10.30pm on Saturday 29 October. Visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-place-free-of-judgement-by-blast-theory-and-tony-white-an-interactive-performance-and-reading-tickets-28229959569 to book your place.
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities said: "I am so pleased that we have yet another high quality arts project taking place in one of our libraries and especially as this one centres on teenagers, promoting the all-important elements of reading, writing and informal learning".
Ju Row Farr, artist with Blast Theory explains: “They have driven stories in challenging directions. They are hilarious one minute and moving the next. The teenagers stake out the power of books, stories and libraries in our lives.”
Author Tony White comments: “It has been an incredible privilege to work with really inspiring and creative young people in Cannock, Telford, Worcester, and beyond, and I’ve learned a huge amount from all involved. When so many libraries are closing and under threat, I’m glad to have seen again first-hand the vital role that libraries and librarians play for young people today, and to have been reminded of just how important my local library was to me when I was their age. With A Place Free of Judgement, I feel that we are giving something back, and I hope people enjoy it.”A Place Free of Judgment is supported with funding from Arts Connect and ASCEL West Midlands.