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The Green Lady in the Toilets

Singer-Songwriter Emmy the Great seeks musical inspiration from the ghosts of the school toilets as she writes a new ballad using stories from the playground.

Singer-Songwriter Emmy the Great is looking for stories to help her write a new song. Who better to inspire her than the best bards around, school children? Taking an audio tour of playgrounds around the country, Emma encounters very strange tales of the ghostly individuals who frequent the UK's primary schools.

Characters like the Green Lady and Bloody Mary haunt the quiet, abandoned spaces of schools from Sheffield to London, spooking generations of pupils. Some appear in bathroom mirrors, others are never seen, only heard - their eerie footsteps reverberating through empty corridors.

Real or not, it’s beside the point. They play a very real role in the imaginations and friendships of the playground.

Emma asks why these stories emerge from the shady corners and abandoned spaces of schools. What can they tell us about the shady corners of the mind? She reflects on the role of these stories in helping young people make sense of the more difficult aspects of life, and learns more about the importance of ritual in the playground, with help from researchers and experts Kate Cowan, Julia Bishop and John Potter.

Emma taps into a rich vein of stories and feelings that inform her song-writing process. She experiments with acoustics and creative processes to write a song that brings some of that identity-bending, thrill-seeking, friend-forming magic of playground lore into her creative practice.

Presented by Emma Lee Moss
Produced by Claire Crofton
A Boom Shakalaka production for BBC Radio 4

Release date:

7 days left to listen

29 minutes

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