Despite some technical issues with the Brighton Fringe website, this Greek Mythology Creative Writing Workshop run by Amanda Potter (from the Open University) was a good way to get our creative juices flowing in the morning, setting us up for the day.
This workshop will leave you with a lot of food for thought
Potter was extremely enthusiastic about the Greek Gods and Goddesses and swiftly proceeded after some brief introductions to show us a family tree of how everyone was interlinked originally in Ancient Greece. This was a very simple approach that enabled everyone to engage with the material provided and the journey ahead easily, in order to help us connect with who these people were to create either our own versions of a God or Goddess of our choice, or a different character associated with them. Using various questions, we created the characters for our stories (I chose Aphrodite for mine) and really enjoyed letting our imaginations start to play. Even hearing some of the other versions portrayed was interesting to engage with. A particular highlight was hearing about someone related to Hermes who was trying to get to the Minotaur to finish what had been started long ago.
But if that sort of exercise wasn't your cup of tea, then we began creating a story structure using things like fairy tale element cards and famous paintings to create storylines that we wouldn't normally expect in Greek Myths. This alongside Potter's gentle and positive supportive nature, enabled us to feel safe to explore and play with different aspects of our chosen characters. For instance, with the fairy tale cards, we got a forest setting, an owl and a sword as our elements to explore. What emerged was a plethora of worlds that were not our own, plus in some instances, we got to see what the other characters were thinking at that moment in time.
But the real highlight was using an opening line of well known poems associated with the Greek Myths to create a journey. One of them being "Changes of shape, new forms are the theme which my spirit impels me now to recite" (Ovid - Metamorphoses). Some found it harder due to the poems being well known, so the pressure of creating something was evident. But that pressure for others was an immediate connection to the character building exercise at the beginning of the workshop and found more interesting ways to explore their character's journey. For some, they found a different character to work with because of the opening line chosen and that was more than acceptible according to Potter. The idea was to allow ourselves to grow in confidence in writing using a different way to unleash our creativity.
This workshop will leave you with a lot of food for thought and a deeper connection with Greek Mythology if that is a passion needing to be fulfilled. But it is also designed for those with little or no experience to kickstart the discovery of these powerful beings for yourselves.