Oldham Coliseum Theatre, as part of the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network, is delighted to be a recipient of the Network’s Progress Bursary supporting LGBTQ+ projects across the region.

26 October 2021

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Let’s hear from Learning and Engagement Officer Ben Cain on the development of the project:

With funding provided by the Network, we have been able to partner up with the Proud Trust’s ‘Youth Out in Oldham’ group to support an artist in the development of their own craft, working directly with staff members from the Coliseum and The Proud Trust to deliver six creative sessions for the group.

‘Youth Out in Oldham’, delivered by The Proud Trust, is a youth group based in Oldham that supports young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, or those questioning their gender or sexuality aged between 13-19 (19+ for those with additional needs).

Having met with the group online, it became clear that many members were interested in the creation of music, specifically Metal Music, as an artform they could see themselves pursuing. With this in mind, we have appointed musician Will Walton as the recipient of the Progress Bursary. Will, a graduate of Leeds Conservatoire, will work with the group over the six-week period to explore multiple styles of music, from Punk to Metal, as well as delivering sessions on song-writing and exploring ways for the group to creatively express themselves. The Coliseum will showcase music created by the group on our website following the project’s completion.

We are super excited to be working with Will and ‘Youth Out in Oldham’, so do keep an eye on this page for further updates from partners and participants over the next six weeks!

We also caught up with Coliseum Chief Executive:

“The Coliseum is proud to have a strong relationship with the LGBT Foundation as members of the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network, strengthening not only our relationship with the organisation and the important work they do, but also with our own engagement with Oldham’s local LGBTQIA+ community. We are delighted that this Progress Bursary has allowed us to build a partnership with the ‘Youth Out in Oldham’ youth group, and we can’t wait to continue working with its young people into the future.” – Susan Wildman, Chief Executive

For more information on ‘Youth Out in Oldham’ youth group, please follow this link:

www.theproudtrust.org/groups/youth-out-in-oldham/

If you’d like to listen to some of Will’s music, have a look at their music below, as well as music from their band Arrowhead –

willwalton.bandcamp.com

whoisarrowhead.bandcamp.com

15 November 2021

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An update from Will Walton on the progress of the project.

Hello there! My name is Will Walton. I’m a non-binary, bisexual musician from Greater Manchester and when I was contacted asking whether I would be interested in working with the Proud Trust’s Youth Out in Oldham (YOIO), an LGBTQ+ youth group, to create some music with them, there was only really one answer. My excitement and enthusiasm for the project only grew once I discovered they wanted to work on some alternative music, which as a musician operating primarily within the genres of punk and metalcore, I’m definitely familiar with.

I’d like to take a moment to outline a little more about myself and how it ties into why I was so eager to take on the project in the first place. At 23 years old, my queerness (or at least, my awareness of it) has been a fact of life for me for close to a decade now, starting when I came out as bisexual at the age of 15, followed by the realisation that I was non-binary when I was 20. It’s a core part of my identity that I’ve strived to never be ashamed of and to be open and proud about.

As with most things that profoundly impact me and influence how I experience life, this part of me found its way into my art. In June 2020 my band, Arrowhead, released “Anthem”, a punk/melodic hardcore song that chronicled mine and my bandmates’ experiences as queer people navigating the world in the 21st century. The song was also written with a defiant streak, with the intention that it would galvanise queer people of all ages who heard it to stand their ground and be proud of their queerness, however it may manifest. Anthem was also an attempt to bring more brazen representation to genres that, while certainly sympathetic to the struggles and efforts of the LGBTQ+ community, were maybe lacking in outspoken voices from said community that discussed topics relevant to them without euphemism or sugarcoating.

This ethos behind Anthem is what I plan to carry over into the project with YOIO.I look forward to working with them to create a piece of music that combines all their musical interests, and lyrically captures their perspectives, experiences and philosophies. In this day and age, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that granting a voice to youth, especially queer youth, is absolutely crucial and I want to use my skills and experience to help them express those views artistically.

I look forward to working with them in the coming weeks and seeing what we create, keep your eyes and ears peeled because they’re definitely going to create something special!

27 January 2022

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Written by the Youth Out in Oldham Coordinator

The Proud Trust’s Youth Out in Oldham group has been running for around 7 years, working with LGBT+ young people who live or spend time in Oldham. The group provides a supportive space for young people to make friends, connect with their community, and explore a wide range of activities.

When Oldham Coliseum reached out to us to collaborate on a music project, the young people were very excited! After a few thinking and jamming sessions with Coliseum staff and the musician Will, the young people decided to write a pirate metal song! It’s been brilliant watching them develop their confidence and their songwriting skills to create a song about gay pirates. The young people have cherished the opportunity to talk about the things that they’re passionate about as young LGBT+ people, from LGBTphobia and COVID, to pesky ducks!

The song has now grown into an album concept, with another song written waiting to be recorded, and album art in the works! This music project has been a fantastic experience for all involved and has really created a musical spark in our young people! We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Coliseum and look forward to working with them in the future.

The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing charity providing education, support & advocacy for LGBT+ young people and their communities. LGBT+ young people and the adults who support them can access support online using the Proud Connections webchat: www.theproudtrust.org/proud-connections. To find out more about joining Youth Out in Oldham or find your local LGBT+ youth group visit: www.theproudtrust.org/young-people/youth-groups

 

We have absolutely loved working on The Progress Bursary over the past few months. What has been most impressive to us at the Coliseum is the new ways in which this project has helped us work with young people, from drama to different forms of music.

Our thanks go out to the staff at The Proud Trust, the LGBT Foundation, Will Walton, and especially the wonderful young people who contributed to creating the songs.

To find out more about the project, as well as listen to the songs, please have a look at our outcome below:

LGBTQIA+ is an acronym representing the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity. The letters represent Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual, and the plus sign is for those who identify as having any other gender or sexual identity not represented by those definitions.

This project is supported by a Progress Bursary from the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network, an LGBT Foundation project, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

For more information you can visit LGBT Foundation’s website at: lgbt.foundation

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