The following is an extract of feedback by Mita Pujara;
The Verbatim Formula (TVF) is a participatory arts residential which enables care-experienced young people to spend a weekend at a university, gaining insights into student life and reflecting creatively on future ambitions and careers. It began as a pilot at Queen Mary’s University (QMUL) in 2014 and was later awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which has allowed it to be shared across three London universities, including the University of Greenwich. This residential was facilitated for 12 participants, including eight unaccompanied minors. The group explored different Verbatim Theatre and other theatre techniques to explore hopes and future ambitions. It was a collaboration between the University of Greenwich (Drama department, Bathway Theatre and Widening Participation) The Verbatim Formula team at QMUL and People’s Palace Projects.
Day 1: Participants were welcomed by breakfast and had informal conversations with the students from UoG and the TVF’s peer facilitation team. They participated in the reflective drawing exercise, Breakfast Plates which was followed ice-breakers also lead by the TVF team. After lunch, participants took part in an image theatre workshop lead by a PhD student from the University of Greenwich, who was also a trained Drama Therapist. Throughout the afternoon participants were invited to attend one- to-one meetings around career planning, if they wished with Rachel Carver. Small group discussions followed where young people could articulate their goals and share ideas in how to realize them. They watched a community show at Bathway Theatre, which was followed by a meal and handover before they retired to their student accommodation in Avery Hill.
One word check in : how people felt after the first session
The variety of aspirations which were articulated by the group
Day 2: There was an introduction to Verbatim Theatre from the Lead TVF facilitator and the group had a go at interviewing each other, using some of the 14 different languages spoken in the room. After more warm-up games, the group worked with the TVF team on structuring what they wanted to share with the carers and invited audience. This was rehearsed and performed after lunch and the weekend finished with group feedback and reflections.
- The flexible format and input from the TVF team was responsive, sensitive and engaging, helping to create a connected environment with multiple points of access for a hugely diverse group of care-experienced young people.
- Games which transcended language.
- The drama pieces were short, created quickly but were still quite impactful.
- Care-experienced young people were heard by adults who were both in and outside their
- The multiplicity of languages and diverse cultures in the room.
- The opportunity for participants to be supported to articulate and plan their future
- Bespoke career guidance from Rachel Calver organised by Widening Participation team.
- A genuine insight into living in halls and life as a student through the ambassadors and peer
facilitators from UoG.
- Getting to meet new people and making friendships regardless of backgrounds.
- The performance was highlight for most of the participants.
- The positivity and aspirations of the participants who have faced considerable adversity in
their lives to date.
- The calm professionalism and power of the group which came through in the nuanced
- The encouragement and respect which the young people gave each other throughout the
- The feedback which the young people received from the audience at the end of the show
was very meaningful for several of the participants.
- Staff at UoG commented it on how it nourished their own practices and educated them on
the needs of young people from care experienced and refugee backgrounds.
- The support from the UoG staff in hosting and holding the different needs of the young
people and TVF facilitation team was fantastic.
- The Making Places handbook worked well in orientating HEI’s to this kind of work
- Both the accommodation, food and works spaces were greatly appreciated by the