Gwyneth has a real passion for working creatively with young people (she wrote a piece on the subject for the Southbank festival in 2015), and regularly leads bespoke songwriting, singing and creative devising workshops with schools, colleges and community organisations across the UK (see bottom of page for references).
In her own creative practise she is always looking for new ways to engage with people; by tying in these workshops with her touring schedule Gwyneth is able to reach out into the communities she performs in, and, by inviting them to perform with her, give young people the opportunity to have their creative voices heard.
In December 2013 Gwyneth spent an extraordinary month travelling around Kenya, playing with Mijikenda musicians and swapping songs and stories in the shanty town schools around Mombasa; her choral arrangement of one of the Swahili songs she learnt there was sung by 100,000 children around the world.
And in 2014, she led creative workshops with young people across East London as part of her and artist Mel Brimfield‘s The Palace that Joan Built (celebrating the life and legacy of revolutionary theatre director Joan Littlewood). These fed directly into her songwriting for the project, which was brought to life in collaboration with local community groups East London Brass Band and the Upbeat Community Choir in a performance to an estimated 58,000 people at Stratford Underground Station. Gwyneth also ran a LADA-commissioned workshop at the National Theatre Studio involving professional artists from different disciplines as part of the project.
Other past projects include:
Week-long devising and performance interdisciplinary project with Colchester Academy as part of the Roman River Festival, July 2015
Composer in Residence in Wildern School, Southampton and Mill Chase Academy, Bordon 2012 to present
Songwriting weekends in association with with The Shed and Pied Piper Projects, Yorkshire, 2012 and 2013
“Gwyneth has a fantastic talent and energy for education which completely enthused the kids… A complete pleasure to work with.”
Dan Somogyi, Director, SoundStorm Music Education Agency/Wave Arts Education Agency, Lighthouse, Poole
“Gwyneth’s creative drive and sheer love of working with young people shone through everything she did in her residency at The Space in Taunton. She has consummate teaching skills and enables everyone to find their expressive voice because she is such a liberating intelligent presence. If you are lucky enough to work with her you will experience first hand the care and imagination she puts into her work, the dynamism she generates and the wealth of what is produced. She puts everything into it and took our students on a wonderfully creative journey. She is a force for good in this world. Book her – you won’t regret it!”
Graeme Ryan, Head of Drama, Heathfield Community School, Taunton
“Gwyneth has worked at our school on a number of projects with 11-13 year olds to create songs inspired by a variety of stimuli. She is truly an inspiration and a genuine creative personality. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she really ‘gets’ young people. Children cannot help but be drawn into the creative process and actively engage in this themselves. It really opens up their eyes, and it really opened mine, into a different ways of working. It encouraged me to view the educational process differently, filling me with a new enthusiasm. It is invaluable for children to work with someone who is not only a great educator, but also a gigging musician and professional composer.”
Emily Thomas, Subject Leader for Music, Wildern School, Southampton
Gwyneth’s unique style, brimming with energy and enthusiasm fully engaged the children. She has a brilliant way of encouraging the children to really feel and see the music, resulting in the children creating a rich collage of words and images in response. Her incredible talents as a song-writer then came to the fore in composing, with the children, the music to go with the words. To see a song grow from nothing in only a couple of hours was awesome. The incredible amount of work and dedication that Gwyneth put into this project made it one of the best primary performances we have seen.
Julie Cuthbert, Trustee, Learning and Participation, Roman River Festival, Essex