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Interview with Sami Scott

Sami Scott

‘Shouting for 20 Years’ Interview with Judy Caine – 1st September 2020

 

Judy Caine [00:00:02] Okay, this is Judy Caine, one of the interviewers for the Shouting for 20 Years project. It’s Tuesday, the 1st of September, and I’m here with Sami Scott, aged 47, who is one of the. Founder members, first people in Shout, and she’s going to talk to me about her experiences in Shout today. Sami, first of all, thank you very much for your time. Obvious question to start with, really. When and why did you first get involved with Shout to Youth Theatre?

 

Sami Scott [00:00:33] To be honest, back then, um. I used to do a lot of dance stuff with Paula.

 

Judy Caine [00:00:43] Back when? Sorry for people who don’t know when Shout started.

 

Sami Scott [00:00:47] Oh Ok, sorry, Back in the

90s. We were, you know, running a contemporary dance group and contemporary dance back then in Corby was then one thing, everyone knew what Irish and Highland Dancing was, and tap and ballet, and all of that jazz but actual contemporary dance was something that was new to the town. and they relatively didn’t know about it. So, we were doing that. And then we were looking at summer holidays and during the summer holidays, there weren’t really any clubs, you know, happeng at that time, and. We were like, well, why don’t we do a dance summer school? And then it was like, whoa, you know, Corrie’s into that and Paula’s into that and I’m into that. Well, actually, what if we do a Performing Arts Summer School.  So, then it was like the music, dance, drama and at that point I had trained in dancing an everything, so I then took the dance element and Corrie the music and Paula the acting. And we were like right, okay, let’s let’s get some children and see what they want to do. And it was kind of like, what did they want to do. What do they want to shout about, ah, SHOUT, and it all came together like that in the thinking things through from a child’s perspective, really. And through our own, um, skills. Um, as we started the process of running the groups, it was kinda like, um, I think the summer school, um, there was a lot that was created by the young people and directed by us as adults. And then you sort of make sure it becomes a piece in the end and all of that sort of stuff for the performance. But I think Shout then evolved over time into what it is properly now. If that makes sense.

 

Judy Caine [00:03:20] Sort of, yeah, so what do you regard it as being now?

 

Sami Scott [00:03:25] So. Shout had always been about empowering young people and giving young people a voice. Um, letting them have a creative outlet for um, for what they want to know about as well. Because Shout’s always been about not just the current stuff, what’s happening on people, but it’s almost like, you know, at one point I remember, you know, in their day and age, you don’t do hitchhiking. But, what is hitchhiking, why don’t we do it now. Why do you think people did do it? And, you know, 20, 30 years or whatever, not in my day, but, you know, a bit earlier than me, people used to hitchhike all the time.

 

Judy Caine [00:04:16] So you’re talking in the 60s?

 

Sami Scott [00:04:18] Yes, 70s something like that. So for them, they were learning about new things as well as talking about things that they wanted to. So, another example would be say ‘Look Both Ways’.

 

Judy Caine [00:04:35] Which was a play?

 

Sami Scott [00:04:39] Which was a play. The Department of Health wanted to explore bisexuality and how to. Raise awareness of it around society. And there was some funding, and I put the funding bid in and we got it. And it started off. as ‘Bi in the Straight World’ and then it developed and developed over time to ‘Look Both Ways’. So, it kind of took on its own life um, but it was driven very much by the children because they would start off with what is bisexuality? Have you heard any stories? The’y’d go and do say their own views or find people to interview or, um, we would find people to interview that we thought were good. And really look at the different aspects. So, the amount of straight people that are told that they’re gay or bi and then it was like, well, are they gay or are they straight when they’re with the opposite? So then it was really looking into this is quite a big topic. So the young people would then do their little drama type bits, go away, do a bit of research during the week, come back to Shout, do a bit more learning and have another little sketch on a different aspect and things like that. And then ‘Look Both Ways’ sort of developed into what it was. And the the project was amazing because, in the beginning, I think in terms of the young people that were in the circle, they acted at the time, there was I think there was one bisexual person there and maybe one lesbian, maybe even one gay guy. But not no more than that. There was just literally just a small handful.

 

Judy Caine [00:06:50] Of how many in the group?

 

Sami Scott [00:06:53] 30ish, something like that. So, then, when it came to we had these characters, we had these parts. And then you had straight guys going, I’ll be that gay guy, and that there was, you know, straight girls say now be that lesbian or whatever. And it turned into they then had to go on that journey. As well as obviously for awareness out there, they personally had go through their journey, because it’s okay to say like, I’ll be the character of a lesbian, but when they’ve got a kiss another girl or whatever, it’s like, I’ve really got to do that. What do, how do I feel about that? You know? And it was like, well, I’ll just pretend. But then the audience will know that. And it’s kinda like you don’t have to go full snog and all of that sort of stuff. But you do need to properly, as an actor, show some affection or show some real, and getting them to the point where they were, d’ya know what it’s okay to do this. People do it all the time when they’re acting or whatever. People, this is people’s lives and they’re doing it. You know, they, they stop kissing in public because of what people think. What will people think if I kiss? And it was the whole journey those, those children went through. And I thought it doesn’t matter if no one else gets awareness from this. They have gone so far with this and because of their inner journey. And this is what I think is good about Shout, because they’ve gone on their inner journey and they’ve come to a wider acceptance of things, then when they’re portraying that as those characters to audiences, it’s so natural, it has a power that comes with it so that the audience go whoa, and they’re just so okay about it all and why aren’t we okay about it all? And it has that double layer to it, it’s not just awareness raising, but it’s it’s got a moral sort of underpinning depth to it that I don’t think if you got a script and just read a script that wouldn’t have that double edge to it, which I think Shout does, because it’s more organic about the way it’s gone through and the learning that’s taken place.

 

Judy Caine [00:09:33] So are, or were, because I know Shout isn’t actually going up the moment, as such. Were, all of the shout plays effectively improvisatory and sort of done by the young people because they were all minors, weren’t they, they were all under 18. Was it more sort of improvisation, exploration? How did you evolve these, in your words, organic plays?

 

Sami Scott [00:09:58] Through, weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. Starting off with, some discussion would happen, we’d always have circles, because then everyone could see each other. One like group dynamic, so they would be like talking would person at a time, having respect for each other. They would put, you know, just a sign to say that they want to talk after that person and things like that. And the young people then would take it turns to be the person to direct the conversation. So therefore, like you’ve just said, right your next and all of that sort of stuff? Then from the discussions, they would then break up into their own little groups and they would do some improvised sketches or drama pieces about an aspect of it, of what they thought. And then after each um, group had performed, they would then sit down and take the feedback from the rest of the group, from the audience, if you like, that were watching it. So, the rest of Shout would sit and watch this one group to their piece. And then they learnt about constructive criticism, not just. It was crap. It would be more like I could see that you were trying really, really hard, but I didn’t feel that really worked. It didn’t bring that over for me. Maybe next time you could try that or that really worked for me because it made me think of that or I saw this in that. And they learnt to give proper feedback for what they were seeing. So, when it came to them devising their own pieces, they were thinking more intelligently about the acting parts. What is it the audience are going to see? What do we want them to know? And therefore, they would start, you know, in the improvised pieces, start thinking like, okay, how’s it going to come across? And I think, again, that’s something that. If you were just given a script and you were just going through it, you think about your character. But you don’t necessarily think, you’d leave it up to a director or someone to do all of that. And they were trying to do these improvised pieces with them all being directors at the same time. And all of this sort of stuff.

 

Judy Caine [00:12:37] Sounds like you’ve given them not only a voice, but like some really tangible life skills. It must have had a profound effect on many of them. What was the effect of shout on you personally?

 

Sami Scott [00:12:54] On me, um. I think for me Shout started, um, the process of Shout started six years before I start working in schools as a mentor. And for me, I’ve always been a person who’s tried to advocate for children, so then Shout was a way that I felt that gave them a bit of respect, a bit pf equality, a bit of ownership and responsibility and power, because a lot of children are powerless. And a lot of the way society decides it, how it’s going to be, is very much top to bottom. And kids always seem to be at the bottom of the hierarchical systems. So for me Shout started giving them a voice, giving them empowerment, giving them, you know, ownership and responsibility. And for me, that way of seeing children blossom, that meant when I went on to work in the school with a mentor and things like that. I felt more able to advocate for children and to stay hold on a minute. What you’re doing is, you know, that child coming into class late, you’re embarrassing them in front of the rest of the class, which is making their anxiety worse, which is the reason why they’re finding it hard to come to your class. And therefore, I want you start thinking of it from their point of view and then, you know. The teacher being the person that has to maybe change rather than the child being the one that has to change, is something that was definitely when I started working in schools a new thing. It was definitely ‘What do you mean? I’ve got … I’m the boss’ and it’s kinda like, no, actually, you’re a teacher and they’re a student and you are both equal. I have authority. I’m you know, challenging that in a way that is like,. yes, you are older, yes, you have more skills, yes, you are the teacher, and there needs to with be respect there. However, there needs to be respect for the child as well. And, it kind of, my vision of how children need to be raised with, you know, some sort of proper coaching proper, you know, letting them find out things for themselves rather than being told what to do the time and having a voice. Shout was doing that and it enabled me to see the way I thought could happen was happening. So then it gave me the confidence when I was working in school, to be able to say, yes, this is the way to go. This is the way to keep going forward. And now, if you look at even the way childrens’ services work or anything like that, it’s all about giving a voice to the child and letting them be in the centre and keeping them part of the process of anything that happens. So over the years, I think everyone’s come round to that way of, erm, you know, trying to treat children with more respect. Trying to give them ownership and some control and power over their own lives and their own learning and things like that. But Shout was definitely for me, a springboard for that. So, the impact for me has been powerful because I’ve been like, yes, something that I knew could happen has happened, and I can continue that in my working relationships, well in my life. And I think, just seeing children grow is always my thing, but then I get that my job as well as Shout. But seeing children grow and become confident, become truly themselves, because whatever, um whatever sort of person you are it’s OK to be you and it’s OK to be completely you. And I think at school or in other sort of, at home or other environment, you’re part of you, whereas Shout it could be all of you. It could be that part. Could be that part. That part. And they were all embraced equally. So again, seeing children just, you know. They might flip out and have an angry outburst and all of that. But, then they take responsibility and they they apologise, and they deal with it and they then resolve and repair the relationships, they might have broken up or something. Um, but they don’t get to do that in other environments, so seeing that was really good. I thought that was good for, you know, for me to be able to see that again, seeing it working. I know it can work. Helped me to then take that to my professional job.

 

Judy Caine [00:19:09] That’s fascinating. Did you ever get, not opposition, but any parents who were concerned.Because some of the topics you dealt with were pretty heavy stuff, teenage pregnancy, drugs, bisexuality, you know, you name it, hard hitting stuff. Did any of the parents ever want to pull their children out or come to you and say, oy, what you doing, teach my son about being gay? Or did you get any hassle off any parents?

 

Sami Scott [00:19:40] To be honest, no. I think when a child goes home because, to be fair, when, when I was working in school and I was saying to parents and children, there’s this drama group that I think  you’ll really like – blah, blah, blah, blah. Obviously, you then have to say it’s about real life and it’s about empowerment, is about, you know, building confidence and all of this sort of stuff. But they deal with, you know, everyday big issues. And it’s done in such a way that is nurturing, and caring, but based on accurate information, not just stuff they see on the Internet or whatever. And it’s, it’s kinda like um, the moral underpinning of each subject is anchored with the with the adults. So when they’re doing about drugs. and at first they might be like ‘yeah, it’s fun to take drugs’ and all that and you go you know, are you disclosing that you take drugs, and they say, no, no I can’t say that I do. And they have a bravado, then they go ‘oh no’, what’s the real stuff? Then they have the real conversation, and they find out the reality of drugs and the bit that parents would be concerned about, I would think, would be the promotion of them. Whereas actually, once a child starts learning about that subject, they find out actually it’s not cool. It’s not as fascinating, it’s quite a hard subject. It’s quite a whoa, people really go through that? oh, gosh, and then they do that, well, that’s not very nice. And they see actually a lot of the downside to taking drugs or whatever, which is the reality. In terms of alcohol again, the balance is, you have alcohol, you feel great and all of that, but what’s the downside factor? You’re sick, people can take advantage, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, it’s about knowing about a subject fully, which is what Shout does. So then, it’s not something I think a parent would have an issue with, because actually they would want a rounded education on it rather than a one version or one faceted version, which is what they get peer to peer really, most of the time. So to be fair, I think parents have probably come back and said, ‘they said something about this’. Yes, we learnt about that, that and that, and if they ask their child, oh, oh, was that you just said they would say more than what they’ve just said so that a parent recognizes quite quickly, yeah, that’s quite a hard subject to learn a lot of things about, and it sounds like you’ve got a grounded understanding of it. So, either through just asking us a question or asking the child a question, they’ve realized that actually it’s a full education. It’s not, oh, like I say, a one faceted one.

 

Judy Caine [00:23:25] So, can you, would you say, it sounds like all of your plays had a real impact on the lives of the people, both performing them, creating them, people that came to watch them. Do you think? the plays that you did then are still relevant today, and can you sort of give me an example maybe of your favourite play and why you feel it was so successful and why it’s still relevant now?

 

Sami Scott [00:23:54] Oh, I don’t know about Favorite.

 

Judy Caine [00:23:55] OK. What was your first play then?

 

Sami Scott [00:23:58] OK, um, I think in terms of young people, they all, um, all of the subjects came up time and time again. So throughout the 20 years, for instance, teenage pregnancy is always a topic when it comes to young people. However, back what, ten years ago even, I would say, 10, 20 years ago, I would say in Corby, at some point, round there, that we had the highest teenage pregnancy rate in definitely in the county, possibly in England. I think it was something as high as that. It was something quite dramatic. However, nowadays, if you said about teenage pregnancies and what the rate is in could now I don’t think it would be as high at all. And I don’t think that’s necessarily to do with Shout. I think that a lot of education has gone into that subject. So there’ll be things like that, I think that have changed over time. And you know years before, it was high, it was probably lower. However, there are different things as well that have come more into the arena now. Such as, you know, social media, online sexting and all of that sort of stuff. County lines, things that teenagers have to deal with now that they didn’t 20 years ago. So, even though the some of the topics would probably be still relevant now, you know, dyslexia hasn’t gone away, it’s still there, and it’s still relevant for a lot of children. However, I think um, schools are getting better at recognizing this child’s struggling, lets go and find out what else is going on and may do a dyslexia test or something like that. I’m not saying it’s a perfect system by any means. There’ll be people that get lost through the net, I am sure, however, I don’t think it’s as taboo as it would have been years ago. So in terms of raising awareness, I think Shout has done, it’s, it’s own amount of awareness raising over time, and especially with professionals that came to see it or commissioned Shout to do pieces of work. They’ve learnt lots to change their practices over time. So, I think Shout has had an impact. I’m not saying it’s just down to Shout. I think it’s fair to say that, you know, they have had an impact over the years. It’s, you know, been something that. Has probably changed. I think in terms of, I can think of one girl and it was the sex, drugs and rock and roll sex education or something, we were doing a topic when she was young and I remember her discussing lots of sexualized stuff, which, you know, because that was the conversation and now, is a secondary school teacher. And it’s like her own life, she was a teenage mom. But, actually, you know, she, she would’ve been someone that I thought would have gone really off the rails, and I think Shout was we really good for her, because I think how wildness was expressed, therefore didn’t go off the rails, didn’t have 100 kids and a loads dads and all of that sort of stuff. And, you know, the drink or whatever the part in whatever could have happened. She’s, you know, a secondary school teacher. She has got a couple of kids, she has got a couple of dads, however, she’s quite settled in her life. And the wildness is still expressed and contained because she knows how to manage herself more. And I think that was a direct result of Shout. I don’t think she would have been like that without Shout. Um, I’m going off at a tangent.

 

Judy Caine [00:29:18] No, no, that’s good. You mentioned that, you talked about commissioning. I didn’t know about commissioning. I’ve got it in my head that shout were just a group of young people with yourself. Paula, Corrie, the three main leaders, and you talked amongst yourselves, decided what to do and you did it. Who commissioned you.

 

Sami Scott [00:29:36] Different people. So, like I NHS would, we did the AIDS play. We’ve done the tackling teenage pregnancy play. Um we’ve done the smoking sensation. Is it called that, oh something like that when you’re looking at all the different products to give up smoking? So NHS did a few like that.

 

Judy Caine [00:30:04] And did they fund you to do those?

 

Sami Scott [00:30:05] Yes. And then the Stroke Society commissioned and paid for a piece about having a stroke.

 

Judy Caine [00:30:15] That was one of your last ones, wasn’t it?

 

Sami Scott [00:30:17] Yep. Um, the Drugs ‘CAN’, they did the drugs, one. Um, there was, there’s quite a few of them.

 

Judy Caine [00:30:35] That’s interesting, so if…

 

Sami Scott [00:30:39] Dyslexia was one that was commissioned by, I want to say it’s Northampton based people, charity organization or something. And we then took them over. ‘Count Me In’ social inclusion was a commission based one.

 

Judy Caine [00:31:00] If they weren’t commissioned, right at the beginning, you said you applied for a bid. Were you the main fundraiser?

 

Sami Scott [00:31:10] No. That would have been, cause, I’ve been in and out a shout throughout the 20 years. I started it, then I went back to Birmingham. Then I come back to Corby. Then I was around it a bit. But, obviously, working at school, I was just then being, like, a recruiter to it and things.

 

Judy Caine [00:31:33] From your school.

 

Sami Scott [00:31:34] Yeah. And making sure that, you know, I’d go and meet them the first time because it was something like, for a lot of them it was confidence, and you know meeting friends or whatever. So, I’d go along for a couple of weeks and settle them in and then I’d get another couple of new ones and bring them along and see how the other ones were getting on and things like that. So, while I was there, I was being part of it. And when they were doing their performances, I would then be ‘techie’ or whatever in the beginning and things like that. And then Sean came and he kind of took over the techie, which was fine. But I was still doing the recruiting things and, um, yeah, it was it’s kinda like I’ve been sort of around Shout and dipped in and out over the years, but not being constant. And I think Paula is the only one that has been constant.

 

Judy Caine [00:32:31] Okay, So where did you get all your techie knowledge from? You mentioned you went to Birmingham was that it.

 

Sami Scott [00:32:36] Yes, Birmingham.

 

Judy Caine [00:32:37] What did you do in Birmingham?

 

Sami Scott [00:32:38] I, first I met Banner Theatre.

 

Judy Caine [00:32:45] Now, that’s the name I know is that where you met Paula? No, it’s not where you met Paula because Paula had something to do with Banner Theatre didn’t she?

 

Sami Scott [00:32:49] She did. She started working with them, then I started working with them. And it was on a voluntary basis because I was at college at the time doing theatre and I was doing Brechtian Studies Theatre, which,  Banner Theatre was doing Brechtian style theatre, so it was absolutely right my street and the play that they were doing. They then did the opening night. Put all the stuff down the next morning, we’re trying to get into the van, I went along and went ‘Oh no, you need to get that out, you need to do du, du, du du and then packed it all up. And it was like, oh, you can’t come on tour with us can you? And then it was on a voluntary basis in between college and everything I started touring around with them. Then I learned things on the job with the techie, and then it was like, right to want to do a bit more of this? We’ll put you on some courses. So then I did some Audio Logic, um, Q-Base, um. I don’t know, lots of different.

 

Judy Caine [00:34:05] |That was to do with the live theatre sound and stuff?

 

Sami Scott [00:34:08] Yes, but it was also because they started recording their CDs and stuff. So then we went to studio and started recording all of that. They used montage and actuality. So, then I learnt about sound editing. And they were doing a CD-ROM, so then I went on the course to learn about how to do a CD-ROM, and video and technique. So then we went out interviewing people like Tony Benn and we videoed him and sound. And then it was one play we did, it was the NHS play and we edited his video and edited sound for different parts of the play. So, I was much more involved then. But, yeah, over time and when I was at college at Northampton, the enhancement day was technical theatre, and, uh, they called it technical theatre enhancement. So it was all the light, sound and set. So it was like I had the whole day of doing, practical things in those areas. So, yeah.

 

Judy Caine [00:35:27] Well, there you go. You talked about social media a while ago. I’m just wondering now, do you think there’s still a place for Shout Theatre type groups or has social media taken that need away. Do kids talk to each other on social media, do they learn everything they need to know on social media or is that a big whoa, that’s a bit of an alarm bell?

 

Sami Scott [00:35:50] To be honest, I think there’s still room for Shout, no doubt about it, and it’s quite, um, there is a need for it, whether children would see that they needed it, I think is the issue because actually if I was still working in secondary school I’d be going, you, you, you, come to this drama group because it would do all of these things for you, which it has done for previous people. Um, there isn’t anybody sort of identifying those children that would really need Shout to move themselves forward. Not just for confidence, self-esteem and all that sort of stuff or friendships or belonging, or anything like that, sometimes it’s…um, I remember one of the last groups Paula did, she had ADHD people on the spectrum, and it was almost the whole group was, there was an additional need of some sort in the group. So, and she took some of them away to the Danish shelters camping and I was like, WHAT. Who are your people going? Who’s the people going with you? You know, because the need of those children is so high, and you’re doing that on your own. I was like, oh. So, yeah. I think at that point, that’s how we sort of evolved. I think it’s the same with any, any sort of grouping of children, every time, every so often, the theme would be that there would be loads of shy children together, or there’d be loads of children that were just ‘wild childs’, or it would be. There’s a lot of bereavement going on, or, there’d be a lot of this or a lot that. So, I think just with any group, there’s naturally some sort of a theme to it, isn’t there? So, I think Shout went through its own themes like that over time in terms of groupings. And then, um, I think, the person, or people to identify, to get them along to this group, cause it’s not just a normal drama group. And I think that’s where, that advertisement of it or something wasn’t there. Well, something. There’s something about it in all of that because like, you know, CATS [Corby Amateur Theatrical Society] could get loads of people there because you get the people that are interested in drama, you get the people that were interested in performing. But,that’s not what Shout is. Yes, that’s an element of that, but there’s this whole other thing going on that, you know, again, it’s about the personal journey of each child and the journey that they go on. And it’s those children that need to go on a journey, that need to be identified to go to Shout. So, I definitely think there are lots of children out that that are missing now because it’s not running now.

 

Judy Caine [00:39:31] What’s it like for you doing this ‘Shouting for 20 Years’ project and going back like at the reunion and meeting these people again?

 

Sami Scott [00:39:40] Oh, my gosh. It was so good. It’s a bit like… So, as a mentor, I went to secondary school first and now I’m working in primary school.

 

Judy Caine [00:39:54] Is that lodge park you were at first?

 

Sami Scott [00:39:56] Yes. So, when a couple of the parents have now, well, teenagers are grown up and now parents bring their kids to school. And I look and I go ‘Oh, hello, you’ and they’re like ‘Sami’, cause they called me Sami at Lodge Park. And they come over and they tell me about their life and what they’ve been doing and everything like that. And they’ll always go back to that moment in time when I worked with them. And they’ll be like, you know, you did this, and I’m like, ‘no – you did it’.  Take some of the, you know, the praise back to yourself, because, you know, I can give you the information, but you’re the one that made the choice to do that or to do that. So, it’s it’s like that for me when I turned up at the reunion and seeing Charlotte and Sam. And, you know, Will, and all of them, it was like … it’s been years ‘how, how are you?’ How’ve you grown? Because they’ve all grown, they’ve all grown, not just physically or, you know, in terms of age, but they’ve grown in terms of their inner worlds have grown. So, you know, and it’s again coming back to the inner journey that they went on with Shout, then they’ve continued that into adulthood or whatever. And, like I said about the one who’s now a secondary school teacher. Hearing what they’re all doing in their jobs. Hearing how Shout impacted on them enough to enable them to be more direct with what they want to do in their lives as adults. And they’ve gone out and achieved it and things like that. So, I just I’m just proud as punch just, you know, just going ‘this is so good’ and I just keep smiling. There they go yeah, I had a bit to do with it.

 

Judy Caine [00:42:09] Quite a lot to do with it. From what you’re telling me.

 

Sami Scott [00:42:12] And you just go. Wow. Just that information is power. Information is power and just giving young people a bit of respect and a bit of equality and a bit of, you know, knowledge and information about things. Then Kick-starts their journey and then they just glow. And that’s it. Just great. And that’s what I love about it.

 

Judy Caine [00:42:42] What’s your favourite ever shout moment? If you have one. If you haven’t, that’s fine.

 

Sami Scott [00:42:48] Oh, there’s so many.

 

Judy Caine [00:42:49] And your worst is the next question. Just pick one. Tell me about one really amazing shout moment.

 

Sami Scott [00:43:05] I think, um. One of my favourite Shout moments was, has to be when some of the children I took from Lodge Park who were shy and this that and the other, you know, not really talkative, quite anxious. And they then did I think ‘Look Both Ways’ has to be it? Because that was right in the middle of the Lodge Park years I would say. And there were so many from Lodge Park in it at the time. And, the first performance, where it all just came together and it all worked. It was all like in front of the parents and everything. And it was like I can’t believe you did that, you actually did it. You did it, and just seeing the parents being proud of their children and the children lapping up the attention where as before they’d be hiding from it. But they were lapping it up. I just think, that first night and, yeah, I think that has to be my favourite because it all just come together. Two hours before that, it was all falling apart. So, it was kinda like even more so. That’s what made it even better, was yes, there was all that going on, but, I don’t know whether it was the adrenaline in the kids, but they all just put it spot on together. It was just amazing. So that was an amazing moment just seeing that all come together and work.

 

[00:45:12] My worst, um. Well, it has to be, I think, one of the residentals.

 

Judy Caine [00:45:26] Now, there’s something I didn’t know anything about the, the residentials. Tell me more.

 

Sami Scott [00:45:32] Residential are all great. It’s always great at residentials. However, there’s always the, the learning curve of residential as well. So the learning curve of residentials, it is round about kids staying up really, really late, getting knackered and falling out with their friends because they think they’re being funny and they want to go sleep and then not sleep. D’ya know what I mean there’s a falling out at some point. There’s um, yeah, there’s a learning curve in there somewhere. Quite, quite quick on in terms of, you know, roughly first to second night. There’s always a learning curve in that sort of 24 hour period. And I remember going at some point to the local pub. I went. ‘I’m go to have a break’. And I went off from Grendon down to the pub, only had a lemondade, but I needed half an hour away from the kids. And it just, I couldn’t take the sort of, they had a voice, but the girls decided they had a voice and a half and they were being quite bitchy with it, and they get that point and then they resolve it all and then they go back to being all great together. But there was an element of them being bitchy and it was just like I remember going ‘I can’t do this’, and I went off and I come back and then I was like, like ‘right, girls, this is how it’s going, du, du’ and managed them. But up until that point, I think they’d been so much intervention, that just, it just weren’t happening. And I was just like, it doesn’t matter what you say or do. They’re not listening. They’re going to crash and burn and they’re going to have to have tears and everything else is got to get to the lowest, lowest, lowest point, because none of this is stopping it. So, I’ll come back when that they’ve done that. And it was, I can’t be around while it’s happening, because they’re dragging you into it and pulling you around. And I’m like, yeah. So, I remember that. And going ‘no, let me go to the pub. Let me just go get half an hour away’. So, yeah, that has to be my worst.

 

Judy Caine [00:48:26] It really doesn’t sound that bad if that’s the worst that’s not, not too tragic. Well done you.

 

Sami Scott [00:48:33] No. To be honest, there’s never, there’s never been like, there’s been angry movements, don’t get me wrong, around the kids and everything. And there’s been angry moments, I suppose, with the adults, because even back to the first Shout me and Paula were at loggerheads at some point. Um, but that’s like, you know, it wasn’t like it would errupt into a fight or it would be like an ongoing falling out. Like there were ‘she snogged my boyfriend’, and all of that sort of stuff going on. So, there’d be tension around Shout for a couple of weeks or something like that. But, you just put them in different groups and it all comes out in the wash and all of that sort of stuff. So, I think that’s why I had to go to a residential, because I thought you’re bottled up, and it isn’t for a couple of weeks, you’ve actually got to deal with it all then. So, yeah.

 

Judy Caine [00:49:36] What do you hope for the future, for Shout, is there a future?

 

Sami Scott [00:49:41] I hope they get up and running again. I think, um, I love the intergenerational working, but I think it takes away from the strength of what Shout was for. And I wan’t to say teenagers, because I know it was eleven upwards.

 

Judy Caine [00:50:01] Or younger in the case of one young man I understand?

 

Sami Scott [00:50:08] Yeah, but they did tend to be more like teenagers. So, I think, yeah, I think, there was the young section that. Some of it would be they’d want to really talk about a subject and it might be a bit too much for this lot. So then we’d have to split them into groups. So it was kinda like a double thing going on or something like that. So they still got it. But when you bring in to, they ain’t going to talk to their nan about sex. You know, even though the old generation probably talked to them, that felt like we’ve got respect them, they’re our elders, we’re going to listen. D’ya know what I mean. And I think, there’s lots of growth in it but I think as, um, you know, sessions, you can bring that together, but I think the whole strength of Shout was that it was around the young people and everything to do with the dynamics and the journey of what was going on for them. So widening that age range, I think, dissolves the power a bit of it.

 

Judy Caine [00:51:42] So what do you think about Shouting for 20 Years as a project? What’s the validity in looking back?

 

Sami Scott [00:51:50] Hopefully, it will spark a new motivation to start something again. I’ve been asked already, probably about a year ago now, something like that. A parent whose sisters went to Shout, asked for it for her daughter, who is eight. Could she come to Shout? I was like, she’s a bit young. Well, you should do shout for young ones then. And it was kinda like, Oh! So, obviously, the subject matter would be age appropriate, it would. But that process of Shout, she recognized as being something that she wants her daughter to have, you know. So it was kind of like, OK. And that made me think. Do you know what, there needs to be something. So, Shouting for 20, I hope, brings all of the remembrance back to then ignite some new motivation and some interest into a new thing. Starting a new thing.

 

Judy Caine [00:53:19] Maybe run by the old Shout members?

 

Sami Scott [00:53:21] Perhaps.

 

Judy Caine [00:53:22] You never know.

 

Sami Scott [00:53:23] And, um, I think that, yeah, it would document, I suppose, is the word, how ahead of the times Shout was in terms of everything, like I was saying back about giving children a voice and being the pioneers really of that sort of process, because I think people recognize that and then change practice to include it. And now it’s become global. So people are trying to do that. But we tried to do that 20 years ago, not in the last five, 10 years, whatever it is. So, yeah, definitely, in terms of having something concrete to be able to say, do you know what Shout was a pioneering project that started that process, that started that empowerment, that started that that voice right back then, before anybody else is doing it. And we had like I say, other agencies coming to us and saying, we want your young people to do something about this. And then was like bowled over by what they come up with, um, and didn’t expect them to. So, it was kinda like, um, it was a real, it’s like putting fresh paint on to something. It was really fresh and cutting edge for what the time period, and people recognized that Shout was a useful way, tool, if you like, of being able to take a subject and then turn it out in a different light. Not in the same old, same old way. So. yeah, because, you know, I think young people change how they respond to things, how they hear things, how they engage with things. So. For young people to be relevant and to be doing it for themselves, I’m going on that journey and showing another young people about this and teaching them actually, I think, that was where the magic was. That’s where the, the straight through information line and experience was. So, therefore I think, yeah, all of that needs to be highlighted and celebrated and acknowledged.

 

Judy Caine [00:56:39] Can you sum up in a couple of sentences what Shout’s legacy is?

 

Sami Scott [00:56:46] Shout is a dynamic, empowering, expressive … I don’t know, I can’t do it, um, tool, journey. A journey of expressing young people and themselves and doing it in a way that was cutting edge and new at the time and continued to be. Um, and the impact on different, like I say, NHS or the Stroke Society, or, you know, the library Headspace people and all of that, that were getting them to do all these commissioned pieces of work. And like the Department of Health, you know, the bisexuality. All of that, I think, Shout has made its mark over the years with certain areas and even though the same kind of themes or issues were coming up, they would always include the latest, and a different edge on it all. So, it would be relevant for the children involved, for the society in which they were living in, in terms of the journey that them children were going on. So, um, it’s changed lives.

 

Judy Caine [00:58:55] Sami, it has been fascinating talking to you this afternoon. Have I forgotten to ask you anything that you’re burning to tell me about?

 

Sami Scott [00:59:05] I’m thinking all I’ve done is just waffle and chat. No, cause I obviously started off as a dance teacher, then I became a recruiter, kind of and techie within it. Yeah,.

 

Judy Caine [00:59:23] I’ve got an enormous amount out of it. Thank you. From what you said today, Shout has come across to me, and I may be wrong, you can tell me live on tape, well card as it is now (showing my age), if I’m wrong. Shout’s come across to me as being a sort of two-pronged thing. You’ve given those young people a voice, but it’s not just a voice to shout about something. It’s their own internal voice through which they can explore and learn and understand about a topic in this wonderful safe environment in their circle. Then they can go out and Shout about it.

 

Sami Scott [01:00:01] Yeah.

 

Judy Caine [01:00:01] It just sounds an amazing experience. I really wish I’d had it myself. Thank you very much for talking to me.

 

Sami Scott [01:00:09] You are more than welcome.

 

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