WORKING WITH CHILD PROTECTION AND OTHER HEALTH AND SOCIAL ISSUES

tlc_front_page2Turning Point Theatre Company and Buzzword Interactive Films created training programmes for a variety of voluntary and statutory agencies, from the nineties through to 2013. The subjects covered included the work done by informal carers; that is, people who look after a friend or relative at home, health matters, such as ageing, osteoarthritis, mental health, in particular Schizophrenia and child protection, looking at children who grow up in a family where there is parental mental illness.

carers1All the work the two companies carried out, appear as relevant today as they were then, particularly the project commissioned by Lancashire Social Services: THE LOST CHILD. The film was the outcome of a series of day-long workshops for professionals, working in the field of child protection, using forum theatre to explore the issues and a performance of an interactive forum theatre play.

The success of the project meant that the company was commissioned to make the film to give the project a shelf-life and it is still being used today, both here in the UK at a universities in Australia. The film was designed with a menu, so that trainers could stop the action at certain point, to enable audiences to discuss the problems depicted in the drama. THE LOST CHILD went on to win a raft of awards, including The National Training Awards.

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The Lost Child

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KEEPING MILLY HAPPY is a short film that looks at how elderly patients can so easily deteriorate if they do not receive appropriate care for osteoarthritis. This film was commissioned by Devon County Council and is still in use in various hospitals and care centres around the UK.

Another successful film produced by Buzzword was NICE PEOPLE. This was commissioned as a training resource for the Devon and Cornwall police, and to raise awareness in the county on rural racism. email_np_adThe film was used as the basis of a series of training workshops run by Lyn Ferrand and her company, designed specifically for police officers. The film was part of this training programme.

Lyn Ferrand, the writer and director of all these innovative projects has now retired. Thank you to all the talented and wonderful actors, cinematographers, crew and everyone else involved in the making of these films and the original projects.

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Lyn is now a carer for her partner and writes novels. These can be accessed online at:

www.feedaread.com

Amazon.co.uk

Waterstones.com

RURAL CUT: This book explores how financial greed and the repercussions of indiscriminate development can ruin lives and change rural places for ever.
JONTY”S WIN: Can money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that the protagonist Jonty Greer unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s money make him a better person? Or will he and the people it attracts, remain the same?
Jonty’s Win is a sequel to Lyn Ferrand’s first novel Pretending.
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JONTY'S WIN 

 

17190949_1265474693500898_8349464218403510824_nPRETENDING

The story of six actors and a director convinced that theatre will change the world. Events change everyone, though strangely, pretending prevails…

THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HE WAS HAPPY

Jake Adams discovers that family scripts run parallel, each new generation caught up in an involuntary mimicking of past lives and times and in his obsessive compulsion to find Emma, he is forced to see that what really matters is how, in the moment, we connect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JONTY’S WIN – A NEW NOVEL BY LYN FERRAND

JONTY'WIN QUOTE FOR TWITTERJonty’s Win by Lyn Ferrand is a funny, at times sad, thoughtful book about what happens when you become filthy rich overnight. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? Buy at www.feedaread.com  at Waterstones https://www.waterstones.com/author/lyn-ferrand/753084  at Barnes&Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jontys-win-lyn-ferrand/1128890017?ean=9781788763516

 

Download on AMAZON KINDLE NOW for just £2.00!  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jontys-Win-Lyn-Ferrand-ebook/dp/B07FMD8CCF/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532856195&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Jonty%27s+Win+by+Lyn+Ferrand+on+Kindle

Laurel and JontyJonty Greer is an irresistible, impoverished jobbing actor catapulted into the fraught mindset of a rich man by a lottery win. Certain that money can deliver happiness and change, he strives to give his fortune a social conscience by funding what he views as life-changing theatre workshops, initially to the young people of a small English seaside town. Insta JontyAs insecure as he was ten years ago when he worked for The People Train Community Theatre, he summons support from his old acting buddies, Edward D’Amato and Caroline Fenton, persuading them to join him on his altruistic quest to heal and inspire the disenfranchised youth of the town and possibly, the whole world. Jonty is unprepared for the demands a vast amount of money put on him and the people around him, including the local council, the women in his life and an abused child attending the workshops. Jonty's faceCan money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that he unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s win make him a better person? Or will he and the people his money attracts, remain the same? Jonty’s Win is a sequel to Lyn Ferrand’s first novel Pretending.

This is the second book in the Jonty series. Look out for the next one, coming soon! Enjoy!

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THE DARKER SIDE OF COUNTRY LIFE

The second edition of my book RURAL CUT is out now. You can get your copy at Amazon and other online bookstores: https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/lyn+ferrand

 Also at www.feedaread.com

362c528e-b27e-4747-871e-e8dfbe380559Filmmaker Steve Firenze responds to a plea for help from Harry, his daughter’s godfather, who has relocated from London to a rural community in the West Country.
Caught up in Harry’s desperate claim that an unscrupulous property developer is financially exploiting him, Steve inadvertently exposes the dark side of the rural idyll and comes face to face with corruption and murder.
While attempting to solve Harry’s issues, Steve befriends Eloise and becomes involved in a series of malevolent events that threaten her sanity.
They are forced to reassess their values, the way they perceive the changing countryside and the people who live there.

Black humour is ever present in this tale of unfulfilled expectations surrounding the myth of a tranquil country life. With a tongue-in-cheek look at the criminal activities of a local councillor and a quartet of elderly incomers who have purchased houses on a gated community for the retired, Rural Cut explores how financial greed and the repercussions of indiscriminate development can ruin lives and change rural places for ever.
 
ISBN: 9781784077204
Type: Paperback
Pages: 270
Published: 29 June 2018

https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/lyn+ferrand

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BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!

It’s hot. Thirty degrees out there. Where am I? Not basking in the sunshine. Oh, no. I’m at my desk in my study, grinding my teeth at the antics of my protagonist, who of course, I love madly.

JONTY'S WINHe’s the hero of a series of books about the progress of a hapless actor, who in my last novel JONTY’S WIN managed to acquire a huge amount of cash, through a lottery win. Now, when you’ve been a jobbing thespian, touring the byways of Devon, in search of a village hall or community centre willing to take your latest theatrical endeavour, a financial windfall like that can throw you right off track.

Since I began writing novels five years ago, my characters have become so real that I sometimes have to pinch myself. Will Jonty Greer walk through the door any moment in a state of total panic and ask for a cuppa and a Valium? Will lovely Edward D’Amato, his faded, elderly actor compatriot, slide between the french doors, holding a bunch of white roses, freshly picked from the rose garden? ( I have a yard that measures 4×4 – no rose garden.) Can I expect tough, hard-nosed-with-a-heart-of-gold Caroline Fenton, actress and waitress (the two often go together) with designs on Jonty’s millions, sashay into my kitchen, looking for a glass of red, or two? That’s what immersing yourself in writing a book can do. Lots of new and wildly interesting people invading your life, at least you hope they are, otherwise no one will want to read about them. It’s a kind of magic.Back Cover JW

Books always worked magic for me. How wonderful, the smell of my local library! Even the shushing of the librarian when I chewed my gum too loudly and tapped my foot in delight at discovering another naughty Emile Zola novel, (I was fourteen at the time and his books were a bit forbidden by the nuns, who taught me) couldn’t stop me getting hooked on books.

Then the expected happened. Marriage and kids and all that. I kept reading, though kid’s books were top of the list for while, and that was okay. When my four little dears finally escaped my clutches and ran boldly into adulthood, there was space again, to read, write, make theatre and film. Oh joy! My own stuff, at last.

Writers are a weird lot. We work in isolation but the outcome of all those alone hours, are audiences who will take the time, in this mad world, to snuggle down on a deck chair under an umberella and read your book. What a huge privilege that is!

You can find the Jonty books at Amazon and other online bookstores. Also at www.feedaread.com

Enjoy!

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SUNDAY MORNING RETHINK

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Me, not feeling guilty.

I should be going to church. Why am I not going to church? Backtrack to my childhood – a very long time ago. It’s eight o’clock and I’m marched to the bus stop with my mum, a dedicated Catholic, who, bless her, thought a convent education would keep me on the straight and narrow. She insisted I never ever miss Mass or Benediction or the ability to recite the Catechism on demand. What was she thinking? An uninterrupted programme for Sunday morning, lasting years.

Every Sunday, the parts of my brain, once carefully washed into believing hell wasn’t just a red hole in the ground you fell down once you’d clocked it – my interpretation of the devil’s home as a nine-year old – but a tangible ‘thing’ that really existed. At night, I visualised my time in that elusive city called Purgatory, a stop-over motel you stayed at before hitting the flames, if you didn’t get absolution (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s like the time you stole your big sister’s makeup and had to apologise profusely, if you didn’t want her to break your arm).

When I discovered I was adult (when did that happen?) and became enthralled with all things theatrical and literary, my opinions changed. Of course they did! That’s what being a grown-up means, doesn’t it? But, the echo of early indoctrination lingered, damn it and Sunday mornings was when Madam Guilt knocked on the door.

She’s a strange old woman, is guilt. She lies in wait in dark corners and shows up at just the right time, usually when I have a mouthful of buttery croissant and a mug of beautiful coffee, frothy and rich, a bit like Boris Johnson, bless him. (Does he get guilty? Politicians and priests, all a bit crazy, and all terribly guilty, don’t you think?)

How do I deal with this infestation of guilt that manifests as a malevolent old woman every Sunday morning? I turn my back and get writing. I’ve discovered the story you create can have a magical quality, capable of assuaging all sorts of guilt trips. You simply dump it in a maze of sentences and transfer Madam Guilt to the plot.

Of course, sometimes, I do actually attend Mass because I want to, not because I feel guilty. I don’t agree one jot with most of the rubbish the church puts out, but that’s religion for you, especially if you’re a woman. I do enjoy the theatrical performance that is the Mass, with the bells and whistles and men in dresses. It does give me a strange and unexpected infusion of peace, though when the church is full to capacity and I squeeze myself into a tiny corner in the back row, next to a very large man who reeks of sweat, tranquility is hard to access.

Jonty Greer, the protagonist in my new book, has his own issues with guilt. That’s what happens when you win 53 million on the lottery. Get it on Amazon (the book, not 53 million) and other jolly good online book stores, or at my publisher’s page: www.feedaread.com

Assuage your own guilt by reading it. You’ll feel better – promise!

 

 

 

 

 

MY NEXT BOOK(S)?

 

 

JONTY'S WIN

Front cover

Completing my latest book JONTY’S WIN made life quite difficult, once I’d put in the last full stop.  You see, I have fallen in love with my main character, Jonty Greer, the hapless actor who has won 53 million pounds on the lottery. Well, who wouldn’t fall in love with a man that rich, I hear you say. 

Actually, it has nothing whatsoever to do with his money. Promise! You see, I have known Jonty for some time. He was the star in my first novel, PRETENDING, written in 2013 and it’s not the last time his febrile antics will fill the pages of a book. I am, at this moment, preparing the next episode of the ongoing chaotic adventure that is his life. Back Cover JWIt’s because he is so extraordinary, so optimistic, so completely unaccountable, that I love him. He has now become a permanent fixture in my mind and heart and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

 

17190949_1265474693500898_8349464218403510824_nI have this weird feeling that Jonty is destined to become a cult figure in the literary world. I’ve always been an optimist, like him.

He had a slow start in PRETENDING and speeded up in JONTY’S WIN, as he spread his exuberance across the pages.

 

Dear reader, I must impress on you, he means well. Oh, yes, he means very well. He just doesn’t quite understand real life. The life on a stage or in front of a camera or on YouTube is his reality. No-one can change that. I should know. I created him. Like the monster in Frankenstein, I have let him escape, and he will plunder his way through a series of forthcoming novels like a tribe of wildebeests on the African Plains, seeking satisfaction, fame, adoration and, because he has a good heart, love.

There is no going back. My plans to write an autobiography, a book about bees, a novel with Trump as the protagonist, have all gone up a chimney. Jonty will consume my thoughts and I guess, my life for the next few months.

Here it is: available for you to read and review and give me your hate/love feelings for the boy. Of course, you might fall in love with one of the other characters. That’s okay. They’re all pretty lovable. 

JONTY'S WIN

 

Book number two, RURAL CUT is altogether a more sombre affair.

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About to be published! If you live in rural England, this is the book for you, but read it behind the sofa, if you are of a delicate disposition.

You can get your copies from Amazon, Foyles, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and a host of other online book shops. Also, at my lovely publisher’s site: http://www.feedaread.com

Please leave a review so I can decide whether or not to give up writing and become the oldest DJ in the West.

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Spooky read! Good for keeping you up at night.

 

MAKING A THEATRE COMPANY

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Turning Point Theatre Company

Back in the mists of time – 1989, to be precise – I wrote a play. It was called You Deserve a Good Rest. The title came out of my observations of older people who were about to plunge into the dark world of retirement.

At the time, retirement was a dirty word. Once out of the workplace, most older people were patronised and ignored. Kind-hearted souls, years younger sent congratulation cards and quoted platitudes, one of which was: ‘You deserve a good rest, dear…’

I was nowhere near retirement age at the time, but I’ve always had an annoying sense of justice and being the youngest of five, with an older mother and twenty years between myself and my eldest brother, I was aware that approaching your demise in a state of ‘retirement’ did nothing for your health or well-being.

The play looked at a man reaching sixty – the retirement age in those days (don’t laugh!) I used music, humour and a look at the history of retirement, in an hour-long production that toured my home county. I had no idea the play would be such a success, or that it would ever be produced. For this, I have to thank a wonderful woman called Margaret Willet, who at the time, was the director of Age Concern (now renamed Age UK) in Devon.

On a whim, I sent the play to Margaret and within a few days, I received a phone call from her, asking if I would like to present a performance at a conference set up by The Centre for Policy on Ageing.  The conference was at a London venue in a few months time, with Dr. Eric Midwinter coordinating the event. I was even offered a substantial grant to help finance the production. I was ecstatic and very surprised.

Sitting at a tiny desk in my bedroom, writing furiously on an Amstrad (early computer) given to me by one of my sons, that encouragement and the grant, ensured that I began to take myself seriously as a writer for the first time.

I had worked as a waitress, an OT aid, an office receptionist and all the while, continued writing whatever and whenever I could. At the age of 34, encouraged by my partner, I went to college to study drama and subsequently began working in theatre as a singer, director/performer, voice-over and filmmaker while attempting to raise four children, run a home and a husband or two. My first break at writing drama was a commission by a local radio station DevonAir. Nicky Ezer, a wonderful, innovative producer, asked me to write a radio soap opera called The Devon Lanes. Yes, you read that correctly! It focused on a family moving to Devon from up-country (as we say down here, and that means anywhere from Bristol, up!) I began writing and sometimes acting in ten minute episodes, broadcast every day, with an omnibus edition on Fridays!

I came from a musical, theatrical family and my early years were peppered with theatrical events, like sitting in the wings at Drury Lane Theatre in London, watching The King and I, with Valerie Hobson and Herbert Lom as Mrs Anna and the King of Siam. My eldest sister was playing one of the King’s wives and understudying Tuptim, the favoured wife in the harem. I was about eight years old at the time. I watched the same sister as a member of the chorus in the London production of Carousel, also at Drury Lane, this time from the front row of the stalls. I also remember vividly, climbing the stone stairs to the dressing room at the ‘Lane’, to walk in on one of the chorus girls, wearing nothing but a sanitary towel on a belt. Having seen the dreaded sight, I heard my sister shriek and then, felt her cover my eyes with her hands. It was 1953.

The performance of You Deserve a Good Rest was performed at the conference and received loud applause and a chance to discuss the action with the audience, who were mainly doctors and others working in the field of geriatric medicine. I realised, after the event was over, I was on to something.

logo4A year later. I formed Turning Point Theatre Company to carry on where my first play left off. My next project came out of the research I’d already done on the lives of retirees. It was clear that one of the most poignant and unexpected things that happened to many people at the start of, or during their retirement, was becoming a carer. This could happen literally overnight, if one partner in a couple became serious ill or incapacitated by a stroke or any of the many conditions that afflict people, now we are all living longer.

sc00098e92I attended conferences and carer’s groups and listened. Carers UK, then The Carers National Association gave me some truly mind-blowing stats. There were, at the time 7.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. This was defined as a family member or friend caring for another person. And they were saving the government millions of pounds. Sadly, the situation in 2018 is not much better, though there is more publicity on social media and in the press, as to what carer’s actually do 365 days of the year. Then, when I wrote my next play, called aptly Carers, the theatre tickets came back from the printers with the word Careers printed on them. The printer had no idea there was such a word as carer, and thought I had made a spelling mistake!

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Jane Bellamy as a carer – jumping through hoops to get help.

carersCarers received support from The Carers National Association and a substantial grant from The Prudential Carers Awareness Fund. By this time, Turning Point Theatre Company was receiving grants from South West Arts and other funders such as The National Lottery, which had just started. We toured the play in association with a number of carer’s groups across the South of the UK. After each show, the actors and a panel of people working with carers discussed the content of the play and related their own experiences, which were always fascinating and sometimes, very moving. I chaired these discussions and our wonderful stage manager recorded them in a book, with a pen; this was before iPads and laptops.

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Mike Berenger in Carers

My next blog will continue the Turning Point journey. I want to tell you all about receiving awards and how I started making films, so watch this space! Thanks for reading.

My latest book, available online at Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble.

JONTY'S WIN