Memories are ready to take centre stage

Portsmouth Guildhall
Portsmouth Guildhall
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YOU’VE shared your stories about the Second World War, being paperboy to the Queen and spotting Arnold Schwarzenegger working out in Southsea.

Now everyone’s tales of life in Portsmouth are going to be displayed as one big story about modern life.

As previously reported, residents were asked to write about their experiences as part of a community literary project called You, Me & Everyone in Portsmouth.

Organisers received more than 1,000 submissions, the largest ever response to such an event in the UK.

Everyone’s contributions will be shown on on a projector at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday between 7pm and 9pm and Saturday from 6pm to 9pm.

London-based project ReAuthoring, in collaboration with Portsmouth-based writers, gathered stories and interviewed people who had something interesting to say.

Popular topics included the recession in the 1980s, immigration, weddings, births, deaths, meeting spouses to attending gigs.

Greg Klerkx, project co-director, said: ‘This has been a unique opportunity to chart the evolution of a city and its people, and it has allowed us as writers to retell the stories of people whose voices wouldn’t otherwise ordinarily have been heard.

‘We believe that the final event will be both touching, humane and honest, and we’re proud that we’ve been able to give Portsmouth’s residents this platform.’

Bestselling author Neil Gaiman, who spent his childhood in the city, also contributed.

Stories have come from schools across Portsmouth and organisations including; Haslar Refugee Group, Central Library, Portsmouth Kite Festival, Portsmouth Irish Club, Dynamite – a disabled young person’s group – Chatterbox LGBT Group, Cross Cultural Women’s Group, Paulsgrove Crochet Group and Umbrella Arts Festival.

The initiative is sponsored by Arts Council England, Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth Cultural Trust and the New Theatre Royal.

Cllr Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: ‘We have put such a huge effort into our literary strategy and it’s beginning to come through.’