Chronicles of Hoxton Street
Last term, our new community writing lab for 11-15 year olds collaborated with BBC History to create scenes for a brand new audio soap opera, set on our very own Hoxton Street. The project was inspired by the 70th anniversary of The Archers, first broadcast on 1 January 1951 and now the world’s longest running drama.
Set in a fictional village in the English countryside, The Archers might seem an unusual inspiration for our writers, who live in the heart of east London. However, The Archers was established to tackle important social issues through relatable characters; something our young writers often strive to do.
Chronicles of Hoxton Street is set in the near future. There you’ll find a bustling outdoor market, cafes and a chicken shop. The soap is populated with characters who live and work in the area: There’s Ishaq Junior, the rich young owner of the chicken shop who dishes out good advice with his chips, Muna, a transgender girl who wants to make jewellery and get her mum off her case, Asuka who suspects her parents have a secret about her past, Ida, who fled the holocaust as a child and is grieving the suspicious death of her husband.
In the recorded scenes you’ll meet Yuki, a young woman who is coming out as bisexual, her friend Kiyoko, who dreams of being a fashion designer, Steve Gary, whose problems with his landlord lead him to ask a favour of his ‘Glam-ma’ Sylvianna, Elizabeth Mills the octogenarian MP and her mysterious friend Grace Einstein.
Chronicles of Hoxton Street was created in a series of online workshops for 11 – 15 year olds, led by Writing Programme Leader Jessica Randall. Much of the work was collaborative; from creating the world of the soap and its key locations to discussing and deciding upon key themes the group would like to address. Once these parameters were set, each writer created their own character who was connected to Hoxton Street in some way, ensuring we encompassed a wide range of ages, interests and backgrounds. Everyone worked together to pool ideas for storylines that would combine these themes and characters before each writer went away to craft a sample scene. We are pleased to share with you these examples of what Chronicles of Hoxton Street could sound like.
We’ve created a resource for teachers and youth workers to help you use Chronicles of Hoxton Street and The Archers to inspire the writing of new audio soaps.