Rainham woman launches Your Story to help aspiring Havering writers

Rainham aspiring writers took part in the Your Story Scheme

Rainham aspiring writers took part in the Your Story Scheme: Sharan Atwal, Sarah Clements, Aman Dhami, Rich Dhami, Sean Hinds Jnr, Charlotte Payne, Michelle Payne, Alex Raynham, Gemma Salter, Tianna Sealy-Jewiss and Holly Sheen. - Credit: Zac Cooke Photography

A Rainham playwright and director is helping aspiring Havering writers to create their own monologues. 

Michelle Payne launched the Your Story scheme to help local people write their own scripts to be performed by actors from Havering. 

The scheme, funded by Arts Council England project Creative People in Places, saw nine would-be writers take part in a 12-week course to learn the fundamentals of writing for stage and screen. 

Michelle Payne

Michelle Payne launched the scheme to help Havering people with their writing skills - Credit: Zac Cooke Photography

Michelle told this paper: “As someone from a working-class background, I wanted to give back to people from my hometown. 

“Growing up, I didn’t realise acting or writing was a real job, and I wanted to do something I would have loved the opportunity to do.” 

The trained actor said she also wants to see more women from Essex get into theatre. 

She explained: “I was always told my accent would hinder my career, but now I embrace it. 

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“I want to flesh out the stereotypes of Essex girls, and show we have important and intelligent things to say.” 

Your Story participant and Rainham resident Aman Dhami said: “I learned so many skills and techniques from Michelle throughout this course.  

Aman Dhami

Aman Dhami was one of nine participants involved in Your Story - Credit: Zac Cooke Photography

“It was lovely using writing as a release from lockdown and to meet new people in Rainham.

“Everyone's stories really came together by the end and what I loved is that they were all so different.”  

Michelle stressed the friendships and connections the group made on the bi-weekly Zoom calls brought the writers together. 

“The end was really emotional, saying goodbye to everyone, but we’ve decided to arrange meet ups for coffee, so I’m hoping it's not really the end,” Aman added. 

The group’s monologues will be performed by five Havering born-and-bred actors - Sharan Atwal, Sean Hinds Jnr, Charlotte Payne, Ashley Runeckles and Tianna Sealy-Jewiss. 

Sharan added: “To have the opportunity to perform authentic monologues from local voices is a real privilege for me.  

“I loved meeting the writers and I'm excited to bring their words to life for the first time.” 

Sharan Atwal

Havering Sharan Atwal will perform one of the monologues - Credit: Zac Cooke Photography

Your Story will be free to view on YouTube from 7.30pm on Monday, June 14 or by visiting michelle-payne.co.uk/yourstory