Making work in dialogue with the world…
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 is an experienced leader of bespoke songwriting, singing and creative devising workshops, having worked with schools, colleges and community organisations across the UK and on three continents (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.
Here is Gwyneth conducting a choir of around 300 young people, put together from several schools and with whom she rehearsed earlier that day, in a piece she wrote especially as the finale of the Celebration of Schools’ Music concerts at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
Other highlights include working with shanty town schools around Mombasa, Kenya (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 interdisciplinary work The Palace that Joan Built (also involving a LADA-commissioned workshop at the National Theatre Studio). These fed directly into her songwriting for the project, which was brought to life in a performance to an estimated 58,000 people at Stratford Underground Station.
“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
“Gwyneth Herbert has an incredible ability to connect with people – as a person and through her music. We commissioned Gwyn to write a finale piece for our annual schools’ festival – ‘A Celebration of Schools’ Music 2017′. We needed something that reflected the celebratory feel of the event, that could capture the interest of 1,500 children and young people over a week, that could be performed by 5 year olds and 18 year olds, by musicians and non-musicians … and that could be rehearsed and put together in an hour. Gwyn achieved this, and night after night found an energy that inspired everyone at Snape Maltings Concert Hall. You couldn’t wish for someone wth more commitment and passion.”
Phillipa Reive – Head of Learning and Inclusion, Snape Maltings, Suffolk