Shirley Mason (Participation Manager)
Hi I’m Shirley E Mason also known as ‘Sister Shirley’ and ‘Cuban Redd’ (performance name). I have performed three times at Edinburgh Fringe with the Performance Poetry club Big Word, have written and performed in two one woman shows ‘Who feelz it knows it’ and ‘Utopia’ and am currently engaged as the Artist-in-Residence at Millfield Arts Centre as well as currently being the Participation Manger for Face Front dealing specifically with the Youth.
Face Front whose strap line is ‘it’s about belonging’ challenges exclusion through the medium that I am passionate about - The Arts!
I have always believed in equality and justice as basic human rights and that we should all be able to exist in harmony. I also believe that we are all connected and therefore are all part of the same whole. If this is the case then where do the feelings and experiences of exclusion come from, what effect do they have and, most importantly: How can this be addressed?.
For the past 12 years - I have been part of the transformative process that emerges from all Face Fronts work addressing issues such as those above.
My experience as a writer and performer of descriptive poetry led to my founding art form with Face Front which was developing the area of access to artistic work for the hearing, aurally and visually impaired through performance poetry often putting words to movement but sometimes vice versa.
My skills as an actor and dialogue writer led to my involvement in the acting and script writing and eventually being involved in every area of Face Fronts development over the years.
In the early days Face Front became well known for its Theatre in Education Programme. We toured several successful plays in which I performed in, directed or managed. These were plays looking at differing issues including amongst others –‘Who Cares’ – Presenting and examining the lives of young Carers: ‘Taisha and the Time Traveller’ examining identity and cultural issues and ‘Beyond the Curtains’ – looking at similarities and differences in communities. I also co-developed the work experience programme ‘K Row’ and the ground-breaking Dream Catcher programme which explored routes of careers progression for year 5+6 primary Pupils.
Supported by Face Front I founded and continued to develop Ghetto Youth Transformation Theatre (GYT) which ran successfully for 5 years. GYT produced local classics such as ‘ShankTown 1 and 2, examining the effects of gun and knife crime on the community, ‘Friends for Life’ –looking at relationships and anti-social behaviour and Cybermissive – examining the role social media has in the lives of people particularly young.
Although Ghetto Youth Transformation Theatre is currently not functioning it has led to the development of Face Fronts new highly skilled Youth Theatre ‘Act 4 Change’. I am currently responsible for the Act for Change Youth Theatre and the Performing arts Clubs which are both strands of the Participation Programme.