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Interview with Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross

‘Shouting for 20 Years’ Interview with Judy Caine 28th September 2020


Judy Caine [00:00:01] Okay, we’re recording, okay. It’s Monday, it’s the 28th of September 2020. My name is Judy Caine and I am one of the interviewers for the ‘Shouting for 20 Years’ project. And today I have with me Jennifer Ross, who is one of the founding members, I think, or if not a founding member, a very early participant, and member of Shout. Anyway, this morning she’s going to tell me all about her involvement. Jen, is it Okay to call you Jen rather than Jennifer?


Jen Ross [00:00:30] . Yeah, that’s fine.


Judy Caine [00:00:32] Okay. Just to kick off for to adjust the sound levels here, could you give me your full name and your age, please?


Jen Ross [00:00:39] Yes, its Jennifer Ros and I’m 35.


Judy Caine [00:00:44] Thank you. First question. Quite an obvious one, really. When and why did you first get involved in Shout?


Jen Ross [00:00:54] Well, I was in senior school, it would be like year 8 I would think. And my friend Danielle Treacher went to ‘Shout’ and she mentioned it to me and she’s like, oh, you should come along. So, I did. And I immediately got thrown into a into a play and just kind of never really left.


Judy Caine [00:01:17] What year was that?


Jen Ross [00:01:20] Oh God. It was the ‘Children and AIDS’, so definitely wasn’t the first year. Oh, hang on, I can find out. Two seconds. I’ve got a list of plays on my phone to find out for you.


Judy Caine [00:01:37] I’m impressed.


Jen Ross [00:01:38] It’s the joy of, oh, it was the first year. So, it would be in 1999 right at the end. Yeah, so just at the end of 1999, so the end of the first year of ‘Shout’.


Judy Caine [00:01:53] And your first play was called?


Jen Ross [00:01:57] ‘Children and AIDS’, I literally turned up and ended up in a video. Its truly straight in, it’s like typical ‘Shout’ mentality.


Judy Caine [00:02:05] What did you think in that session, did you into what on earth you’d got yourself into?


Jen Ross [00:02:10] A little bit yeah, but, you know, I was kind of an outgoing child anyway, so I didn’t really mind too much. Just kinda like, yeah go with the flow, see what happens. It was fun and I had obviously Dani was there Danielle Treacher, and er started to make friends with other people. So it was kind of a communal thing as well as being a drama thing as I had that group of friends on the Tuesday.


Judy Caine [00:02:34] So what kept you going back?


Jen Ross [00:02:37] Erm, probably initially the friendships are made, but the actual drama, I quite enjoyed the drama side of it. So that brought me back as well. Like oh, we’re doing this this week, so I need to learn my lines for this bit. And then, you know, the performances at the end were great as well. So, a bit of everything really the sort of community and the actual drama itself.


Judy Caine [00:03:01] Correct me if I’m wrong, I thought ‘Shout’ was largely improv. You said oh I’ve gotta learn my lines. Talk me through how you worked.


Jen Ross [00:03:07] Yeah. So, the sort of devising side of things is very much improv. It’s like we’re looking at this. What do you want to do around this topic? So, go off, maybe have little groups of people and they’d all work on their own thing around, I don’t know, let’s say teenage pregnancy. So, they might have their own little skits they’d devised throughout the session. And then we’d show them at the end of the session. So, they, kind of everyone would watch them and give a bit of feedback on what we thought. And as it got closer to the sort of actual performance it would be more, more scripted based on those initial improv bits. So, there’s kind of a bit of both. It starts off as improv and becomes a sort of written script. So, by the time the performance comes round, everyone knows the lines and we’re working on the same thing.


Judy Caine [00:04:01] Thank you. Thank you for clarifying that.


Jen Ross [00:04:03] That’s alright.


Judy Caine [00:04:04] So what’s your main role in the group as as an actor or did you do other things?


Jen Ross [00:04:10] I started as an actor and then I got too old. There’s an ongoing joke that when you hit 18, you become a helper because you just don’t want to leave because you enjoy it so much. So, at 18, I became helper, which is sort of like an assistant to Paula. You’re like, more in charge of the health and safety, or going and getting drinks from the bars at the break time, things like that, the more more helpful role to the group? Although you might still be involved if they need, I don’t know, a parent figure for a scene or something like that. So, yeah, I did that side and I also got involved in the admin side as well, sort of admin, treasury, because you need a, what’s the word, a committee.


Jen Ross [00:04:59] So I was involved in the committee side. Went off to uni, came back and jumped straight back into it. So, yes.  Just erm, so I’ve done the acting side and the admin and the Treasury. And then I actually, the job centre did a like placement thing for a while where you get six months’ worth of pay, paid, I don’t know how it’s done, I can’t really remember. So, I was actually hired by ‘Shout’, by Paula Boulton Performing Arts for six months. And that’s when we did the ‘Look Both Ways’ filming. So, I was in charge a lot more on that side with the like, the sorting out the scripts and yeah, that’s the one. I think I’ve still got my copy of ‘Look Both Ways’ somewhere as well.


Judy Caine [00:05:51] I am going to watch you. I haven’t seen it yet, sorry.


Jen Ross [00:05:57] Which version is that. Is that the?


Judy Caine [00:05:58] Oh, I don’t know. Erm.


Jen Ross [00:05:59] There’s like three versions, there’s like the one that’s of the performance and then there’s the full one and then there’s also a chopped down version that was for schools.


Judy Caine [00:06:10] It’s got age group 12 on the back of it?


Jen Ross [00:06:13] That doesn’t really narrow it down! But yeah, there’s like three versions of that.


Judy Caine [00:06:20] It says 2011 on this. Copyright 2011?


Jen Ross [00:06:23] Hang on I’ll get my list up against 2011. I think that might be the performance one, I think. Well, I’m not a hundred percent on that.


Judy Caine [00:06:36] Well, I’ll let you know.


Jen Ross [00:06:37] Yeah. It’s definitely not the last version, which was like a chopped down version which was shown in schools to kind of bring awareness and stuff. Yeah, sorry I’ve gone a bit off topic then.


Judy Caine [00:06:50] It’s fine. So, what effect did ‘Shout’ have on you personally?


Jen Ross [00:07:01] It was hum. It was a good source of information. At a time when schools weren’t very good at information, particularly around so sexuality and sexual health and drugs and things like that. It’s not something that was already touched on in schools in any sort or major fashion. Beyond the basics of biology and that sort of thing. So it was it was informative at an age where I didn’t have access to that information. So I learnt about, you know, about drug use, what each drug does and what the, what the cons are of doing this one and that one, or the different kinds of contraception or, you know, how your period cycles, even simple stuff like that, which you’re not really taught in school. So, I felt a lot more prepared with those issues because I’d addressed them in a kind of group environment where we could, felt free to ask open questions without the fear of ridicule. So, it was, it was a good sharing experience of information. So that was, and it also brought issues to light that I simply wasn’t aware of. Like Casa Alianza about the, it’s a short piece we did about street kids in Guatemala.


Judy Caine [00:08:19] Sorry, what was it called?


Jen Ross [00:08:21] It’s, it’s by the charity Casa Alianza. I think that was the name of the place. Well, I can’t quite remember, but it was about street kids in Guatemala that, you know, would never cross my radar.


Judy Caine [00:08:36] No.


Jen Ross [00:08:36] So, it was interesting to learn about things outside of my scope at that time. So, it was it was a great learning experience generally. And obviously, you got the sort of social skills that come with performing of the teamwork. The, you know, how you structure things in the play if you want to go into that section. I was even, I did some lighting in tech at one point as well. That was around ‘Count Me In’, I think it was, because I was thinking of maybe progressing that, so they took me on as a kind of apprentice on that for a few sessions.


Judy Caine [00:09:10] Was that working with Sami?


Jen Ross [00:09:12] Yes. Yes. And that was when we were going around like Lighthouse Theatre and things doing the performance. So it’s nice to be in a proper tech environment for that. So that was really good. Yeah. Just generally. And obviously, the friendships you keep I mean, I still talk to quite a few people from my show even now. And I haven’t seen them since. God knows when. So it’s been really great. We just have had that kind of friendship continue over into adulthood. Essentially.


Judy Caine [00:09:44] That is, that is really nice. Did you see many, did many of them turn up to the reunion that we had?


Jen Ross [00:09:50] There was quite a few of them there. Uh, Chelsea and Charlie, Charlotte, I kinda of lost contact with. But Chelsea whenever she’s about I kinda, we hang out a bit. And Lee, up until quite recently, we used to hang out a lot. So, we actually did Viking re-enacting together as a weird kind of side point. But, yeah. So, yeah, still, bump into them now and again.


Judy Caine [00:10:12] Is that a Viking think behind you by any chance?


Jen Ross [00:10:14] Oh, that’s my scythe. I don’t know if you can see it (moves to give Judy a better view).


Judy Caine [00:10:15] Oh yeah.


Jen Ross [00:10:22]  And, I’ve got a spear as well and a sword hanging about, some scrams? But we haven’t done it for a little while, I really should get rid of them, but I don’t want to.


Judy Caine [00:10:35]  No, no, they’re intriguing.


Jen Ross [00:10:35] They just live in the house.


Judy Caine [00:10:38] They’re intriguing, I like interesting things, and your’s is clearly an interesting house.


Jen Ross [00:10:38] Aye.


Judy Caine [00:10:38] So, as you got older in the group, I mean, you said you were in year 8, so what, you were twelve when you first went?


Jen Ross [00:10:51] I think so, I was 12/13 so around then.


Judy Caine [00:10:54] As you grew older, did you mentor the younger, who came in?


Jen Ross [00:11:01] Yes. Once you get to 18, you’re technically the wrong age group for the group. So then you go on in the helper role of that’s more the mentoring kinda role.


Judy Caine [00:11:14] OK, so until you’re 18, you don’t help the younger children you just act?


Jen Ross [00:11:18] You might do in a kind of you know, if there’s something going on and you just kind of helping them along with the drama side of things? But it’s less of an official thing and more just a being nice to them.


Judy Caine [00:11:31] Did the group change much during your time with it?


Jen Ross [00:11:34] Oh, God yes, it changed every few years really. it’s like it was, oh, particularly when I started it was all people about my age. So it wasn’t, wasn’t that mixed in terms of age group. There was a couple older, you know, but it was mostly about that age and as it as it went along we lost a few people here and gained a few people there. And there’s been so many iterations. Like there’s one point where it went right down to like, I think was 5 of us, a really tiny amount of us and then it grew up again. And you get new people in who don’t know about all the previous stuff you’ve done. So, they’re learning, particularly things that came up a lot like the drugs and the teenage pregnancy. So, it’s seeing them approaching it for the first time and also their take on it because it’s like, the generations have changed, so it’s the way they see it now. But it was, it was, um, what was it? ‘Go in, Stay in, Tune in’, which is about basically losing electricity and stuff. I remember one session I was just watching one of the kids getting around, switching all the plugs off, coz, you know they were that tuned in to the sort of environmental side of things that would just like oh, make sure the plugs are off before we start. And that is just something that wouldn’t have crossed my mind at that age to be worried about, about the environment, because it just didn’t cross, cross our radar, really. So, there’s been huge changes throughout the years of different things coming in, different cultures and different people. Like even people from overseas who’ve had some of them in Juliano was one I particularly remember again from ‘Look Both Ways’. He’s a fantastic actor although his English wasn’t always on point.


Judy Caine [00:13:29] Sorry, what was his name?


Jen Ross [00:13:31] I think it was Juliano, if I remember it correctly. It was him, and in the ‘Look Both Ways’ play, I think his brother jumped in as well to help out with something. Their English wasn’t always fantastic, but they gave it their all, and it was nice to learn about their culture, just as the kind of casual sense in each session and stuff just like chatting and things. I kind of forgot what the original question was. I’ve just gone off randomly.


Judy Caine [00:13:59] No, no, you’re fine. It sounds like it was an amazing experience. Did you take anything from ‘Shout’ in to your adult life? Has it affected you as a as a grown up, if you like?


Jen Ross [00:14:17] Well, I suppose the drama side of things that’d always carry over because, you know. It makes you more confident in situations, and better at teamwork and all that kind of side of it. And obviously the issues we touched on kind of prepare you more for real life. So, like teenage pregnancy. When you get older and you start going into the sexual world, you are better prepared because you would understand different sorts contraception. And here’s my options and things like that. Also, on the, because I did the admin for ‘Shout’, I’ve actually gone more into the admin side of life. So, I’m doing more admin-based jobs and things. So that’s carried over in that sense as well.


Judy Caine [00:15:04] That’s quite incredible. What was different about ‘Shout’ compared to other groups? Because I mean there seems to be lots of youth clubs in Corby. I just wonder if you were looking for a group, I know you said that you, Dani was in it and you went along with her. But, what was different about ‘Shout’ from other youth clubs?


Jen Ross [00:15:24] I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t go to any other youth club I purely went to ‘Shout’, cos Dani was like, hey, there’s a drama group, I’m going do you want to come. That was the limit of it. I didn’t. I did tennis around that time as well, well I did Tennis since I was like 4. And that was more lessons. It wasn’t the same sort of thing, you turn up, you do your lesson and go home. But, other than that I wasn’t really part of any other youth groups.


Judy Caine [00:15:50] So, I think you’ve already answered this. I was going to ask you if the play’s made a difference, but clearly they did because you said, you know, when you grew up and you went out into the sexual world, you knew some of the parameters, you knew your options. So clearly they did make a difference. Do you think the issues that you created the plays about? Oh, I guess what, where are we, because it finished 2018. So, did the issues, are the issues that you created the plays about in ‘Shout’ still relevant today, do you think?


Jen Ross [00:16:26] I would say some of them are.


Judy Caine [00:16:29] Which ones and why?


Jen Ross [00:16:31] I’m just thinking, obviously, teenage pregnancy and drugs will always be relevant. That’s the thing that always, always comes around. Children and AIDS. I don’t know if that would still be so much of a thing today, whether it’s just not in, in the public eye as much. Erm, I think some of it would still stand up and some of it will be less relevant, but still informative. If that makes sense. Because some of things are just not in the public eye anymore.


Judy Caine [00:17:07] Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?


Jen Ross [00:17:15] It’s probably a bad thing in the sense that no one’s shining a light on it, particularly things around AIDS, is just kind of swept under the carpet because I kind of remember early on, it was in my life when I was born in the 80s, growing up in the 90s. AIDS was a big thing. It was a big issue. And now you just don’t hear about it anymore. And it’s obviously not just disappeared of the face of the planet. So, but in terms of it being relevant to a younger generation, I can maybe see why that wouldn’t be, be the most useful information at this time for kids.


Judy Caine [00:17:49] Yeah.


Jen Ross [00:17:50] Because at the end of the day ‘Shout’ was created for kids to ‘Shout’ about issues relevant to them. So some things would still stand up very much. I think there was something about cyberbullying, I was probably at uni around then and that would definitely be relevant. I think so, I can’t quite remember cause I was at Uni during that time so, and some things fell through the cracks in that respect, so, yeah.


Judy Caine [00:18:15] Would you like to see ‘Shout’ start up again?


Jen Ross [00:18:21] Erm, I would like it to, I just don’t think kids have the same interest in …


Judy Caine [00:18:27] Oh that’s interesting, explain.


Jen Ross [00:18:30] Well, there is literally, there isn’t, people would rather sit on their computer and chat to their friends or play games with their friends via the Internet than physically go out and mix with other people. Because there’s been a slow decline in in all youth clubs. I don’t think there’s really any about now, really. Because Connaughty’s gone, and they used to have one there. Yeah, I just don’t think there’s a demand and, it’s kind of sad, really, that people are kinda shackled to their computers these days. But, yeah, as relevant, as helpful as it would be to have it again so people can learn about the issues and express themselves. I just don’t think the demand’s there.


Judy Caine [00:19:20] Interesting, so what do you think about this ‘Shouting for 20 Years’ project? Why do you think it’s important? Or maybe you don’t. What do you think about the ‘Shouting for 20 Years’ project?


Jen Ross [00:19:30] I think it’s definitely, it’s important to celebrate all we’ve done in that time, because its brought a huge amount of like the experiences I’ve had of learning about issues and things, maybe things that weren’t quite on my peripheral. So, the people who have been in it have learnt a lot. And also the people who shown it to you have learnt a lot as well. And I think it’s important that we celebrate that, you know, have a big hurrah and just go look at the good work was done in the last 20 years. Coz you know, 20 years is a bloody long time for any kind of club, let alone a drama club. Yeah, I think it’s important. It’s celebrated.


Judy Caine [00:20:13] You sound very proud to what you achieved with ‘Shout’ actually.


Jen Ross [00:20:15] Yeah, I think we all are, everyone involved, you know, has a sense of pride about it because it’s like we’ve done a good job not only for ourselves and putting out a performance piece. Also, it’s pieces that make you think we’re bringing things, even stuff like the history of the Labour Club. It’s just nice that we’ve done that so people can watch it and go, oh, I didn’t know that about the Labour Club. They might just go in for a pint on the Friday, but now they know the history of it. So, it’s kind of, it’s nice that we’ve been able to show that to people and they’ve learnt something or think about things differently. It’s just a really good project.


Judy Caine [00:20:56] What was your favourite play that you did?


Jen Ross [00:21:00] Ooh dear? Now, that is a question. I don’t honestly know, because there’s so many of them.


Judy Caine [00:21:17] That’s OK.


Jen Ross [00:21:21] I think, probably not at the time, ‘Look Both Ways’, because the filming of that was, oh, very stressful. But I think in terms of bringing issues not really discussed at a time when young children, well not young children, but, you know, I mean teenagers of becoming more open with their sexuality and stuff to explore that at that time was just kind of hitting the nail on the head on that sort of thing. So in terms of the information output on that and the things that the group learnt there was a lot of them that didn’t understand some of the things that we discussed in the play. So, the group learning generally there, and then to be able to put out like videos like the one you showed earlier, all the performances and stuff and have it shown in schools.


Judy Caine [00:22:12] So what was your role in that play ‘Look Both Ways’?


Jen Ross [00:22:15] I was, oh gosh, actor, and then I was hired by Paula Boulton Performing Arts to do the, and I helped out with all the kinda script, script plays, scripts and the planning of scheduling when filming was going on. And, a bit of everything really. Aside from operating the cameras, I didn’t damn near everything in that play just as it was needed. Ordering food, everything it was great though. At the time it was stressful as hell because we’re just so much to do and so little time, coz we filmed over one summer there was people goin’ on holiday and then the weather wasn’t good enough to film an, all the kinda chaos involved in that. But, yeah.


Judy Caine [00:23:04] And that was commission wasn’t it? That was actually commissioned by the NHS?


Jen Ross [00:23:07] Yeah, that was. Yes. Yeah, it was. So that was a lot of work in a very short space of time. But we’re so glad that, in hindsight, I’m so proud of it. That we, we managed to get it done and everyone was on point when they turned up. Everyone knew their lines. It was like, ah, brilliant.


Judy Caine [00:23:27] It’s like a great discipline. You talked about young people now being glued to their PCs.


Jen Ross [00:23:37] Yeah.


Judy Caine [00:23:38] Is there an online version of Shout that could be done, do you think? I mean we’re all having to zoom at the minute because of Coronavirus.


Jen Ross [00:23:46] Yeah.


[00:23:46] I’m just, I know that for the 20 years project there is a certain amount of devising going on online. Kids are very au fait with technology. I’m just wondering, if there is an online version, or is that not the point of it? The point of it is you’ve got to be there face to face?


Jen Ross [00:24:05] I don’t know how drama would work over the Internet.


Judy Caine [00:24:08] No, me neither. It might not?


Jen Ross [00:24:08] I mean, it be more like, like a radio podcast, wouldn’t it, it be more that sort of thing? But with visuals. I don’t know. I think that’s a very Paula question because she’s more clever on the creative side, than I am in that respect.


Judy Caine [00:24:26] I’ll ask Paula then, that’s fine.


Jen Ross [00:24:26] Cos I think, you know, vocally, like, you get these little half hour podcasts and it’s like a series or something like that. Like a radio show, essentially, so that side of it might work. But is that really drama in the sense that we know it? I don’t know. It’s a bit of a tricky one that.


Judy Caine [00:24:50] So, how does it work, was it drama to learn about and inform on a subject or did you pick a subject and then create a drama about it? Which way round did it work?


Jen Ross [00:25:03] Bit of both, really, it depended. Obviously, if we had a commission then it would be on that subject. And whe’d devise and learn about that subject. But if someone turned up, and went, what was it? I think it was domestic abuse, someone turned up and they like, I want to explore this as a topic. Domestic abuse. It’s a case of then, we go out and learn about it and devise pieces around it and build a script. Cos it’s always been the mantra of what we want to shout about. So, if something comes from the group then would do it just the same as if it was a commission. Commissions keep in running. That’s the only real difference.


Judy Caine [00:25:50] What did you prefer? Did you prefer commissions to something that came from the group or did you not really mind?


Jen Ross [00:25:55] Don’t really mind, to be honest. It’s interesting learning experience either way on the whole, so. It’s always best when it comes from the group in terms of that is particularly what they want to shout about. And it’s not always what you would expect. So it’s kind of, you know, particularly someone like myself who stayed in a group for a long time, because I think one, one session we brought up 9/11 as a kind of we wanna do a piece about this. But then the age of the group. They were like four, five when 9/11 happened or something like that, they were quite young. So it wasn’t something that interested them. So it’s, it’s, it’s good to have the perspective of what the group wants to do, because then, you know, you’re always in line with the age you’re appealing to.


Judy Caine [00:26:44] Yeah. Was there anything, any topic that came up that you thought you’ve got to be kidding, I don’t know where to start, I can’t do that?


Jen Ross [00:26:56] No. No. No, coz there’s always a way round it. Like, if you just not quite sure at the beginning then we go out and get research and kind of read through things. Or, like, oh God, I’m sorting the boxes at the minute, and there is so much research for some projects, it’s unbelievable. Just like leaflets and interviews with doctors and all sorts of stuff. So, there was always a way to gain information about that topic. And then it was up to the group how they wish to express it. So, yeah. So I don’t think there’s any that really, teally were too, too difficult in that respect, there’s always a way to get the project going.


Judy Caine [00:27:41] You mentioned you went to interview doctors. So, did you go to do your research? Did you pull people in?


Jen Ross [00:27:46] Well, when I say interview doctors, I mean Paula interviewed doctors. I only know that I was sorting through one of the files. I think it was, it must have been one of the early sex ed plays. Erm, but there’s like interviews with a GP and bodywise and some other people around that subject around teenage pregnancy. So yeah, obviously it becomes less needed if the project’s repeated because you’ve got all your previous research. So that helps the next one. Might just need to be updated. Yeah. I think Paula did all the interviews and stuff back then, so that was her field.


Judy Caine [00:28:27] So what was your favourite moment or your proudest moment in ‘Shout’? Yes. You’re proudest, not your favourite. What’s your proudest moment?


Jen Ross [00:28:35] Oh God, I have no idea. There is just too much.


Judy Caine [00:28:47] Well, that’s good. Did you ever have a moment that was a bad moment or a funny moment? Tell me some stories, tell me some funny, amusing stories about ‘Shout’.


Jen Ross [00:29:04] Funny stories, erm. There was a, I can’t quite remember which play it was, but Phil Jennings was on stage and he completely forgot his line and just turned round and went “I’ve tits it” and walked off.  And it was just like, it was one of those moments that was so stupid.


Judy Caine [00:29:22] That was in front of an audience.


Jen Ross [00:29:24] Yeah. “Oh I’ve tits it”, it’s like naff, and then oh, gosh. There’s just too many years, like 19 years of stuff. And probably stuff that we should have done. Like we were in the Willows, and after a performance where the aerosols out, we set the bloody fire alarms off. And that was a bit of a mission because then the fire department turned up. I don’t know, there’s a lot of it.


Judy Caine [00:30:04] OK, is there any one thing that you’ve taken away from your experience of ‘Shout’ that you’d like to share?


Jen Ross [00:30:15] I think I’ve kind of expressed it really, it’s just all the learning and the skills that the people who have been in ‘Shout’ picked up along the way has always been a good thing. And obviously, the drama devising, you know, you, you’re better in groups, you’re better at confidence and that sort of side of things – that’s always a good skill. Yeah, I suppose the skills and knowledge that everyone’s gained along the way is the best thing.


Judy Caine [00:30:46] I’ve only really got a couple of other things I want to ask you. You can ask me whatever you like. What impact do you think ‘Shout’ had on the town? If anything, maybe it didn’t. I don’t know. Did your plays impact people who came to see them?


Jen Ross [00:31:04] I would hope so. I definitely think some of them have. And some of them not necessarily in the best way possible. Like, I think it was away for ‘Foreigners Bloody Foreigners’, but we had someone turn up and ruin the bathrooms in the Labour Club, and that was they didn’t even see the play. So, like to have that kind of impact. Not necessarily positive. Yes, I’d say we’ve definitely helped some people in some capacity either understand the subject to get a better idea of their hometown, like ‘Women of Steel’ and things like that, where it’s a history of the town. And I’ve lived here since I was four and I did know stuff like that. So, to get to, to learn about your town or issues that are about in the town at that time, I think that’s probably probably impacted some people. I definitely have had feedback cos some of them, I think most of the play we did feedback forms and some of the feedback we had back over the years has always been quite positive that we’ve shown, shown it in a fair light and things like that. Yeah, so I think we’re probably definitely had in impact.


Judy Caine [00:32:25] What happened with ‘Foreigners Bloody Foreigners’, as you said, some people.


Jen Ross [00:32:30] I believe, cos I wasn’t there at the time, but they went into one the toilets and graffitied the toilets about how horrible foreigners are, basically. And we had quite a, from what I’ve heard, some issues with the name of the play, coz ‘Foreigners Bloody Foreigners’ trying to put up like posters with that on gave people the wrong idea.


Judy Caine [00:32:54] Ah, yeah, Ok.


Jen Ross [00:32:54] They thought we were against the foreigners rather than for the foreigners. So there was a bit of argy bargy around that. Oh, God, and the erm, bloody Paula, we were doing a piece about domestic violence and we took it to ASDA. I wasn’t there for this because I am too sensible, wouldn’t have let this happen. But, it’s Paula being Paula. But yeah, so read a piece about domestic violence up at ASDA and she got the idea, coz there was 2, was a brother and sister there, that they walk up past the tills, have an argument, he pretends to hit her, and, you know, we bring some attention to the issue. Unfortunately, what happened is they went up past the till, had an argument, he pretended to her and then two great big lads climbed over the things and pinned him against the wall. So, we brought attention to the issue. But not necessarily in the way we thought we would. But it was nice to see that people of Corby, don’t stand up for that kind of nonsense. Oh, man, yeah, we definitely wouldn’t like to find that nowadays but oh God, yeah. I seam to remember Paula saying there was a woman was a woman who came over to talk to them and was saying how it had hit a nerve with her, her and she was glad that people were bringing that kind of attention to the issue. So, there was both good and bad in that but, yeah. Guerrilla drama maybe not the way to go anymore.


Judy Caine [00:34:40] No, it’s difficult isn’t it.


Jen Ross [00:34:43] Aye.


Judy Caine [00:34:43] Is there anything else you’d like to tell me that I’ve not asked you about Jen?


Jen Ross [00:34:48] Erm, I don’t know really. I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t sort of covered, really.


Judy Caine [00:34:57] Do you think your life would have been different if you hadn’t gone to ‘Shout’?


Jen Ross [00:35:02] Yeah probably. I won’t be as well informed. But Paula has always been a star at helping me out with like projects and things, so, yeah, you know, if I’m a bit bored she’s like hey, do you want some admin you know. Paula, actually, she’s become a very, very close friend now. So, and yep, probably, the people I’ve met along the way like Lee and Charlotte and them, you know, it’d be, I’d feel a lot lonelier, a lot less informed.


Judy Caine [00:35:35] Yeah, a lot of people have said that, actually. What you hope that the current project ‘Shouting for 20 Years’ will give people?


Jen Ross [00:35:46] I think it’s be really nice to celebrate all the things we’ve done along years and catch up with people. Some of them, you know, I haven’t, I haven’t seen since the beginning. Well, the first couple years and what I’ve seen them, but haven’t seen them now. So it’d be nice to see how everyone’s got on with their lives, what they’re doing. Just to kind of catch up with everyone. Celebration of what we’ve done. You know, a little poke at, ah, look at that silly hat and that thing or do you remember when we did that, just kinda sharing stories and stuff.


Judy Caine [00:36:22] What about people on the outside?  What do you hope they’ll get from the project? Because you’re going to do a retrospective play, we’re going to do an exhibition. What do you hope people from the outside will get, get from this?


Jen Ross [00:36:44] I think it’d be nice for them to see, see the things that have happened along the way and kind of jump back into it. So, they’re like, oh, what’s this about? Bisexuality, what’s that? And they kind of see something on there. It encourages them to go and have a look further and maybe research things they didn’t know or learn more about the time, the town’s history and how things have changed over the years. Because I don’t think really child trafficking, which we did right at the very start – ‘Don’t Pick the Flowers’ – would that still be a relevant issue now?


Judy Caine [00:37:24] It’s a huge issue now sadly?


Jen Ross [00:37:28] Yeah. Yes. I meant, in the scope of, like teenagers. So how the mindset of people of that age has changed over the years, like the AIDS. AIDS is probably a better one, actually thinking about it. Yeah. So just kind of see the development of teenagers through the years and what matters to them. That’s a tough one, that.


Judy Caine [00:37:55] Sorry, it’s not a test.


Jen Ross [00:37:56] It’s hard when you’re on the inside. To look from the outside.


Judy Caine [00:38:00] Yeah. That’s why I asked, I just wondered, you know. I know everyone said the same thing is hard to look in from out.


Jen Ross [00:38:12] Yeah, yeah, it’s like when you’re doing a painting and you just get too engrossed in it, you can’t see when you finish. So, you need to step away and look back at it. You’re just so wrapped up in it, particularly myself who’s still wrapped up in it. It’s not so easy to see it from the outside.


Judy Caine [00:38:31] Have there been any surprises? Because obviously you’re, you’re very involved in ‘Shouting for 20 Years’, you’re on the management committee, you’re doing an awful lot the archiving and sorting it all out. Have you had any surprises doing that?


Jen Ross [00:38:45] Suprrises?


Judy Caine [00:38:46] Apart from the sheer volume of research.


Jen Ross [00:38:48] Yes. Or boxes. Jesus. I don’t know, surprises? My brain’s gone blank on that one. Sorry.


Judy Caine [00:39:10] No, don’t worry, Jen, it’s been really nice talking to you this morning. Are you sure there’s nothing else you want to tell me?


Jen Ross [00:39:18] Erm, Anything, not that I can really think of off the top of me head. No, nothing that jumps to mind.


Judy Caine [00:39:26] Well, what I will need to do is send you a release form to say I held a gun to your head and forced you to do this, and you’re happy for me to transcribe it and use the information in the project. So, if I send you a release form, I’ll send you an envelope and you can just get it back. Is that okay? Yeah, no problem. Brilliant. Right. I’m going to stop recording. Bear with me.


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