Fundamental Conduit is a performance collective based in the the town of Paisley in the west of Scotland . The brainchild of Gwen Mckerrell a writer, qualified counsellor and decade-long veteran of the Glasgow and Paisley spoken word scenes, the group developed from a series of writer’s workshops in a paisley church.
Originally looking to find a way to “…increase the audience for Performance Poetry and Spoken Word events…’ Gwen set up the writing group Paisley Pen and Paper which she scheduled to run once a fortnight at the nearby St Matthews Church. With this clear and simple goal in mind, she scheduled each session as a workshop looking at a particular aspect of writing and waited for the writers to come.
The workshops went well with steady numbers and with Gwen being a therapist advocating a therapeutic approach to writing, a number of mental health issues were covered. Then, with the help of community music student Chiara Pacitti, a number of workshops were scheduled to run as songwriting sessions. The idea was for the participants to create material that could be crafted into songs with the help of musicians contracted-in, and that this would lead ultimately to live performances. Participants were encouraged to perform their work in the form of a spoken word piece and eventually the writing workshops became more of a performance rehearsal space. In May 2018 Fundamental Conduit took part in a number of live performances during Renfrewshire Mental Health Festival. The group have also performed at Glasgow’s Project Cafe/Tell it Slant monthly event .
Fundamental Conduit cover a lot of topics in their performances. The writer/performers are local but there’s a diversity within the styles and subject matter under discussion that adds to the overall element of performance. Bawdy limericks might be followed by humorous reflections on the nature of existence which could in turn be followed by a full-throated rendition of a love song and so on, you get the picture. Topics tackled by group members range from bigotry and sectarianism to loneliness, depression, faraway forgotten wars as well as more immediate tales of drunkenness, drunken sex, and bad takeaway food. Sometimes you really do need to be there.
Fundamental Conduit meet fortnightly at St Matthews Church on Mondays from 7-9pm Next meeting will be Monday April 1. Fundamental Conduit will perform at Renfrewshire Mental Health Festival in May 2019 – more information soon