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Over the past three weeks, we held another round of our High Rise project, funded by MAES. Participants were invited to hop into solo and collaborative creative writing sessions, alongside character development workshops, to build their own audio dramas. Produced by some of Manchester’s dynamic young voices, these audio pieces delved into the highs and lows of urban change, delivering a raw, authentic take on gentrification’s impact. The dramas were exclusively previewed on Reform Radio’s airwaves in a one hour special. Listen to the full show below.

We caught up with Chris, one of our recent participants, to find out about his time on the programme and what he’ll be taking forward from it.

Introduce your name, pronouns, and what you currently get up to in your free time.

My name is Christopher, my pronouns are he/him and I am currently re-learning how to play the guitar.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Work In Progress.

What prompted you to get involved with the High Rise project?

I previously really enjoyed doing scripting when I was on the Radio Course at Reform, so when I found out I could expand on this in the High Rise project, I was really keen to get involved.

Did you have much experience with creative writing before? If so, what’s your favourite thing about it? 

I came onto the course with a tiny bit of experience in creative writing due to doing a session on it, also as part of the Radio Course. However, this was a whole different mine field for me and I was able to explore new areas of writing.

Project participant stood at Reform Radio.

What’s your favourite book/poem that you’ve ever read?

My favourite poem would have to be ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae. I’m really interested in World War One so this is easily one of my favourite pieces.

Let’s throw it back to your first day at Reform versus now, tell me a bit about your first impressions/feelings/emotions in comparison to how you feel now. What has changed? 

On my first day in the space, I was really nervous and introverted. Expressing myself, getting to know others and becoming more comfortable has allowed me to come out of my shell a lot. I’m really proud of how much my confidence has developed.

Where do you find inspiration for writing normally and can you give us some examples of what/who inspires your work?

I find most of my inspiration simply from my imagination. Sometimes I think of random elements and characters and then write them down. I can build a whole story from there.

What will you take from the High Rise project moving forward & what are your plans from here onwards?

I’ve developed my writing skills so much through the project and I’ve also met lots of like-minded creatives. From here, I am going to work with another guy who was on the High Rise course to produce our own larger scale audio drama.

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