Inspiring Young Writers with Toonspeak Young People's Theatre

Word of Mouth poster
Category: Writing

Word of Mouth is a fantastic project for young people interested in performing their own writing. The project will culminate in two performances, one during Book Week Scotland and one during Glasgow CAN's Winter Festival. Toonspeak's artistic director Skye Loneragan tells us how the young writers learned to write and perform their work with the support of Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature programme, GCAN and Trades House. 


When I started at Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre, I was excited to meet such a wonderful bunch of young board members, young writers, and talented people who spoke their minds and encouraged others to do the same.

I wanted to give them all a chance to write their own experiences. I shared with them the poetry that I’d shared with people in queues, in prisons, in pubs. I described the process behind writing a solo show, and questions I had about writing dialogue for theatre as opposed to film. I wanted to know what questions they might have, and if those questions could become a character’s quest. 

Word of Mouth is a project that hinges on nurturing young writers and performers. So much of the devising process in theatre relies on being able to turn truth into fiction; I wanted to offer these incredible young people the chance to create work from their own experiences. 

So much of the devising process in theatre relies on being able to turn truth into fiction

More than 20 young people, aged 11-25 years, worked with very different approaches to writing. They sung and spoke a story with Tawona Sithole. They embodied the difference between performing work that has meaning and meaning what you say with playwright and performer Stewart Ennis. They discovered how a detail can grow into a beautiful stand-up routine with comedian Viv Gee. They’ve witnessed the magic of ‘eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart’ through Scottish Storyteller David Campbell. Word of Mouth wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature sessions. 

They are currently nurtured, nudged and inspired each week by writer Cathy Forde and they are working toward sharing their work with an audience. During Book Week Scotland, they will perform this work for the first time. 

During Book Week Scotland, they will perform this work for the first time

Word of Mouth has poetry, dialogue, theatre of the absurd, narration and stand-up comedy, all priceless short pieces of performance. Cathy Forde said, 'It is a privilege and a thrill to be involved with the Word of Mouth project.'

So much of the spoken word begins on the page. So much of what we write can be heard through the voice when it is performed. This is a unique collection of voices. 

Join us to see Word of Mouth this week:

• Wednesday 25 November at Maryhill Burgh Halls, 7 pm. (Venue: 0845 860 1891,
• Tuesday 1 December at Stereo, Renfrew St, Glasgow, 7 pm

Skye Loneragan

Skye Loneragan is Artistic Director of Toonspeak.