Staged for Life

Established in 2015, Staged for Life is an employability project that provides free, accredited training courses for young unemployed people to learn skills in how to operate sound and lighting equipment for live events. This initiative not only provides the young people involved with relevant skills and work experience in the rapidly growing industry of live events, but also facilitates personal development through exposure to art, culture, social dialogue and team-work.

2016 Project Edition

Young Start, Ernst Cook Trust and Dr Guthrie’s Association awarded the project with funding. JobCentre Plus, Young Scot, the Edinburgh Guarantee, Black Light, Youth Link Scotland, the Edinburgh College, Black Dingo Productions, Gilded Balloon, the Assembly Roxy, the Pleasance, Paradise Green and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society supported the project delivery.

A total of 165 applications were received for the 2016 Staged for Life training course. 22 young people were short-listed based on the candidates’ work ethic and enthusiasm to learn new skills.

Throughout the two weeks participants took part in practical workshops covering a variety of key topics including health and safety; installing, setting up and operating sound and lighting for a range of event types; equipment maintenance; stage management and communicating with performers, event organisers and team members. 17 out of the 22 participants successfully completed the training course, creating a 77% pass rate.

Project Outcomes

Having the training course accredited has allowed a clearer pathway into full-time education for participants. Indeed, 3 young people have transitioned onto an HNC Technical Theatre course at Edinburgh College directly due to their involvement with Staged for Life in 2016. In addition, the 14 individuals who undertook supported work placements now have experience that will be recognised across a range of industries, especially within the events sector.

100% of the 14 individuals who benefitted from work placement opportunities agreed that the training facilities were adequate for the 2-week course; they utilised skills learnt from the course; they found the work placement beneficial; they received adequate support throughout the process; as well as they felt more confident in finding employment by taking part in this process.

Participants' Comments

“I suffer from anxiety and it was really good for my mental health problems. It was a safe environment and it helped me come out of my shell. I am much more confident now”

“Being unemployed for so long I retreated from society. This has got me back into things - reintegrating. I feel like myself again. There have been so many positive things….it’s been a very, very good idea to get involved.”

Just For All

Through this scheme, we offered a range of inspiring and challenging events free of charge to marginalised individuals and groups as part of the 2016 Just Festival. The project was co-funded by the Craignish Trust and the Hugh Fraser Foundation.  It engaged 177 individuals, positively affecting their sense of belonging and well-being through greater access to social events.  We worked with Pilmeny Development Project; Hadel; Positive Prison; Plan2Change; MYDG; Valley Park; Young Scot; The Welcoming and Penumbra to reach out to individuals and groups who could benefit from the scheme’soffer.

Our performance, conversation and talk events offered an intergenerational approach, actively seeking participants of all ages, genders and backgrounds to provide stimulating and thought -provoking ideas and opinions. This innovative scheme provided a platform for people to gather and shed light on important subjects, increasing diversity amongst audience members and encouraging communications between individuals.

Quoting  one of the project beneficiaries : 'Thank you for my free tickets. It’s good to know that here I am welcome because of my disability.

I appreciate the opportunity this festival gives me to learn about peace and social justice through dyslexia-friendly ways, e.g. expressive arts, oral presentation.'

Volunteering Programme

Our Volunteering Programme aims to provide skills in events coordination, stage management and promotions.  It gives opportunities to local and international volunteers of different ages and backgrounds to develop their hard and soft skills as well as to increase their awareness of social justice matters.

20-40 volunteers area involved in the annual festival on average.  They gain experience in front of house/ box office and stage management; liaison with performers and audiences; creating social media content; drafting press releases/previews/reviews and interviews published on Just Festival and TV Bomb websites, and collating events feedback.

Quoting the2016 Just Volunteers:

- 'The shows I've sat in on have opened my eyes and educated me on a lot of issues.'

- 'It exceeded my expectations and the amount of practical experience gained was amazing.'

- 'I have always felt a need and want to engage with social justice issues. It's reassuring to know others do too'.

- 'I have developed more awareness and therefore I feel more empathy and understanding.'

-'Problem-solving and staying calm - good progress in professional confidence.'

Together Tackling Sectarianism

Financed by The Scottish Government Tackling Sectarianism Fund, the project aims at increasing awareness regarding sectarian language and behaviour, addressing roots of the sectarian divide in Scotland as well as providing safe spaces for individuals and communities to express their observations, experiences and opinions surrounding the issue. 

Project partners - Citizens Theatre, Glasgow Women’s Library, Sacro, Brora Community Learning Centre & Creativity in Care Scotland contributed to 2015 Just Festival programme by hosting events that shed light on sectarianism, Black Dingo Productions plays co-produced with Just Festivals in 2013 and 2014, went on tour across Scotland incl. Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands and North & South Lanarkshire between October’15 and March’16 to reach out to broader audiences.