Skye Bridge Studios 123

Arts & Learning Centre | Kyle of Lochalsh

Part of the Skye Bridge Experience

Susan Galloway, the former Head Teacher at Plockton High School, had made us aware of Highland Cares late last year. We did some research and found out that the organisation’s key achievements in one year were as follows: Highland Cares rollout across the nine Community Planning Partnerships. The Safeguarding and Community Learning and Development Team in response to the directorate service plan is supporting the rollout of the Highland Cares across the nine Community Planning Partnerships. The Highland Cares Team Officers are linked to the CLD leads and CLD links in each area. These newly formed relationships have enabled a needs led analysis of children and young people’s Mental Health and Wellbeing. This has resulted in targeted pilot work in local contexts.

We thought that this was a great opportunity for us at SBS123 to apply for funding to be able to provide activities for the young people in our local area. Therefore, we applied for funding early this year and a couple months later, we gratefully received £6,000 from Highland Cares. We were ecstatic to get planning and working on free, accessible activities for 5–24 year-olds in our community. 

One aim we wanted to achieve when reaching out to the younger community in Skye and Lochalsh was to build better connections with the schools in our area. So, we got in contact with the Drama teacher in Plockton High School, Paul Moss, who is passionate about teaching his pupils about the world of drama. He provides an out-of-school Drama Club which is very popular amongst 12–17-year-olds within the school and is a fantastic extracurricular activity for developing enthusiasm amongst young drama-lovers. We discussed with Mr Moss the possibilities of our collaboration and recognised the first thing we should do is to encourage his pupils to our space and watch a live performance. Therefore, we used some of our funding to provide free tickets for his pupils to attend the brownbear gig which happened on the 27th of April. Matt Hickman ‘brownbear’ is a performance artist who combines a gift for storytelling with his distinctive ‘adopted genre’ of indie-soul. Matt Hickman was supported by professional singer and actress Sabrina Mandulu. This was a tremendous opportunity to show these young pupils professional artistes performing in our space. 

IMG 1541

We received positive feedback from both the pupils that attended this gig, and their parents. This encouraged us to further our relationship with Paul Moss and his pupils. We opened our performance space to Paul’s Drama Club, allowing them to rehearse the play ‘Ernie's Incredible Illucinations’ which is a bright comedy by the famous English comic playwright Alan Ayckbourn about the extraordinary powers of Ernie Fraser, a dreamer with a difference. We thought that it was important to provide a professional performance space for these pupils to rehearse in, especially since Plockton High School unfortunately doesn’t have any purpose-built rehearsal space for the drama club pupils.

For our next activity we decided to work with a former pupil of the Plockton Music School, Steven Barclay, also known as ‘The Chosen Lonely’ who was performing a gig on June 17th. We decided to put a callout on social media for any young people who may be interested in performing in an open mic session to support this gig. 5 young people put themselves foreword for this and we began organising rehearsals. We used our funding to pay for our sound tech Daniel Goldthorpe to run these rehearsals and set up our PA for the young performers. This alone was a fantastic experience as it gave these young people practice in performing in a professional space, using our PA, and working alongside a highly skilled and dedicated sound technician. The performers had a total of 2 rehearsals each as well as a sound check before the gig, enabling them to feel confident, prepared, and excited for the gig. During this process the young people were given supportive feedback and encouraged where to focus their energies in making the most of this opportunity.

IMG 1840

On the night, the young performers went one by one as the first half to this gig. This was an amazing opportunity as this was some of their first times performing in front of a live audience. This whole experience was great for learning, skill building and hopefully inspiring these young people to continue performing. We hope to invite these talented young people, as well as any others who would be interested, to perform at the studios again.

IMG 1804

During this time, we had also been in contact with Sabrina Mandulu as she expressed interest in coming back to Skye Bridge Studios to provide workshops for local young people. We thought that this was a brilliant idea and wanted to use some of our funding to make these workshops free and accessible to any young people who wanted to take part. We started brainstorming with Sabrina and came up with 4 free singing & drama workshops for 12–24-year-olds. We contacted the local primary school (in Kyle) to let them know of these workshops and they kindly invited Sabrina to the school, and she held a free singing workshop for the P5-P7 pupils. She taught them songs with actions from FrozenMoana, and more. This was a great opportunity for the kids to be taught by a young, enthusiastic professional to sing and move around a stage, all while laughing and having fun!

IMG 1417

We also got in contact with the current Head Teacher of Plockton High School, Ms Moncrieff, about one of Sabrina’s drama workshops. She was extremely supportive and accommodating of this and agreed that this was “a great opportunity” and so Paul Moss asked around the school for any pupils interested in participating. There were around 15 secondary school pupils in attendance to this workshop – some of which saw Sabrina Mandulu live at the brownbear gig. Sabrina taught the students about movement and speech, and we hope that she inspired these pupils to further their skills in the arts.

We had received such positive feedback about these workshops and hope to be able to provide many more in the future. 

Registered Charity : SKYE BRIDGE STUDIOS 123. SC051841

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date and hear about our events.

Sign Up