What projects does facilitate?
Young Actors Company (YAC): Supported by The Taylor Family Foundation, our Young Actors Company provides a platform where young people can learn new skills, make new friends - and have fun! Three groups (Act1, Act2 and Act3) are run, FREE to participants, involving some 50 – 60 young people each Sunday aged 11 – 19 years. There is also an associate membership of 25 who have discounted access to our workshops and activities throughout the year. YAC accept applications from Merton young people to join on a yearly basis and auditions take place every September.
East & West - Summer Showcase 2014 (overview)
Based on the national touring production of “West Side Story”, our Summer Showcase 2014 was a huge success with teachers, participants and audiences alike. All the 97 young participants saw the show in March 2014 and then worked on their own “responses” for three months in partnership with a professional director and choreographers from the Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment. The eight groups (6 schools and two community organisations) performed to over 600 people on the main stage at New Wimbledon Theatre on 15th July 2014. We have commissioned a documentary film about “East & West” which can be viewed at:
Summer Showcase 2015
iWe are very excited about our 2015 Showcase. Building on the huge success of our two previous Showcases, we will be inviting groups of local young people to create their own performances using the national touring “Oh What a Lovely War” as inspiration for their own, self-devised 12 minute performances about the madness and heroism of war and our hopes and dreams for peace. Once again, we expect the Showcase to feature over 100 young people with two performances on the main stage of NWT in July 2015.
We developed this project with Harris Academy Merton with financial support from The Wates Family Charities. We worked for twelve weeks with a group of 15 year 9 girls who had been identified as being in potential danger of abuse. Lead by two experienced practitioners the group explored healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to stay safe. The project completed with workshops facilitated and delivered by the core participants to other girls in Yr 7 & 8 using a “trigger” video they had created and filmed. This project had a profound effect on how these girls saw themselves in relation to both boys and to their peers. Harris now has plans to run more workshops at Harris Morden lead by the girls, further extending the reach of the project.
Shine helps underachieving children in primary schools by providing Saturday schools with smaller class sizes, and a more creative curriculum. They are keen to develop more creative approaches to learning but currently lack the resources to develop them. SNAP! will consist of a tailor-made programme of six three hour photography and drama workshops, enabling 15 year six pupils to learn new skills. The photography sessions will offer practical skills in simple camerawork whilst encouraging greater reflection and self-awareness- an approach we pioneered with the SMART Centre with measurable success.
Having successfully launched the “Close Up” project with vulnerable girls, we now feel it is essential to encourage boys to critique their own behavior towards both girls and to other boys.
The project will run for twelve weeks at Harris Academy. We will work with a group of 12-15 year 8 and 9 boys, who will be selected by the school on the basis of their attitudes and behavior. The ambition is to develop a relationship with the boys which will enable them to openly discuss their feelings about their own behavior and explore the implications for those around them. The project will build to a final exhibition of art works for the whole school, created by the boys and which they will curate themselves.
Express Yourself KICKING
This highly interactive theatre piece for year 6 students about dependant behaviour first toured in 2013. Feedback to the pilot production was uniformly excellent and we toured a revised version of the production more widely in 2014, with financial support from the Wimbledon Foundation. KICKING toured for three weeks in June and July 2014. The project was seen by 565 Year 6 students in 18 Merton primary schools. The project was highly participatory and included space for discussions about dependant behaviour and how we can help if someone has a problem with an addiction. As a result of this project 86% of participants said that they understood more about the nature and the effects of dependency. We will be reviving KICKING once again in 2015.
Commissioned by London Borough of Merton Arts and Leisure to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One this piece was developed in rehearsal by the cast of fourteen young people, who were all recruited from Merton schools. Based on material gathered at an Open Day we held at NWT in February 2014, the young cast created a very touching 45 minute theatre piece, giving a thoroughly 21st century take on life at the front and at home during World War One. It performed to a sold out Studio audience on 8th August, almost 100 years exactly since war was declared.