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Lel, one of the LOVE STORIES community storytellers talks about the co-creation process.

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Lel is one of the community storytellers from the ensemble and her chapter, Between The Esplanade and Seashore, brings to life the real and imagined stories behind the many benches in South Cliff Gardens. Lel shared these words at the Love Stories launch event in July, which though a little soggy, was a great way to celebrate the work of everyone involved in this gorgeous project, a big thank you to everyone who braved the rain to join us!

‘I think technically, the term for what was done in the making of Love Stories is ‘co-

creation’ but that is such a dry phrase so I wanted to say a little about what has

actually been a magical and joyful process for those of us involved in making this

lovely audio trail.

We worked with many artists, for example, Jackie Walduck, Kathy Seabrook and

Rebecca Denniff. Each are professional composers and musicians at the very pinnacle of extraordinary talent but those of us who are storytellers were by no means a supporting cast of amateurs. The experts didn’t ‘kindly lead us’ in a direction they had already decided we would go. Every note and lyric came out of a truly collaborative process.

Firstly, ARCADE invited Allie Watt, local playwright to set up workshops and go

into Scarborough communities to gather love stories about the gardens. Stories

cross generations and many are included in the ‘Love Lives Here’ track which we

recommend listening to in The Italian Gardens. Some of the writers were invited to

become a part of the storytelling cast. Lynne’s beautiful story came out of one such


The first meeting I went to, I was surrounded by musicians- to be honest, it was a

bit intimidating. ‘How, musically, do you hear your story?’ I was asked and I could

truthfully say ‘I have absolutely no idea’. I started reading it and Kathy Seabrook,

the flautist with the Scarborough Spa Orchestra, just started playing along,

interpreting MY words and it was perfect. Jackie then turned this into the

orchestral score you hear in the audio trail.

For Elaine’s story, which features the sky map, the group literally joined the dots on

an actual star map and then overlaid this on a musical stave and that is how her

music came about.

Associate Artist Rebecca Denniff, was part of the co-creation process, she invited

the group to pick phrases from stories that jumped out. With her help we created

lyrics which she helped us find melodies for. But ‘we’re not singers’ we told

Rebecca, but she gave us support and confidence to find our voices.

We are all really proud of the work we created, but it’s more than just pride. Jess

suggested that we have all bloomed while being part of this process. We have been

on what Matthew called an ‘adventure’. From the youngest to the oldest member

of the cast, we have all grown in self-confidence, in self-esteem, in awareness of

our own potential as creatives and importantly, our love for Scarborough and her

gardens. Scarborough is a special place and we have discovered through this

project that we can be special in it.’

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