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Bromley The Churchill Glasgow Theatre Royal & King's Theatre Milton Keynes Milton Keynes Theatre Richmond Richmond Theatre Stoke-on-Trent Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall Wimbledon New Wimbledon Theatre London ATG West End Theatres

Design Shaun Webb Design

Creative Learning

Annual Review 08/09

Part of the Ambassador Theatre Group

Creative Learning

Overview 1 West End Theatres 3 The Churchill 4

Theatre Royal & King's Theatre


Milton Keynes Theatre


Richmond Theatre


Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall


New Wimbledon Theatre


Annual Review 08/09 Annual Review 08/09

Part of the Ambassador Theatre Group


The Ambassador Theatre Group supports Creative Learning departments in six of its regional theatres, as well as delivering programmes of work in the West End and in association with its touring productions. ATG Creative Learning offers a range of events linked to the shows it produces and presents, extensive on-going participatory activities such as Youth Theatres and dance classes, as well as developing long-term partnerships. THE OBJECTIVES OF ATG'S CREATIVE LEARNING WORK ARE

To generate and nurture an interest in the theatre and the performing arts. To strengthen the educational benefits of the performing arts, facilitating access, participation and equality of opportunity for children and adults and taking account of disadvantage, disability and diversity. To offer opportunities to explore the pathways of creation, direction and performance thereby extending and furthering the experiences of our audiences.

new writing competition, and the subsequent transfer of one of the plays to the Soho Theatre. New Wimbledon Theatre touring to every library in the borough of Merton to make Joseph's Community Dream Coat. The pioneering partnership between Richmond Theatre's Creative Learning Department and St Mary's University College in Twickenham, which helps to deliver courses in Theatre in Education and Applied Theatre. The successful pilot of Performing for Success in Milton Keynes - a ten week `out of hours' programme for young people at risk of under-achieving, in partnership with Milton Keynes Council's Extended Services team.

CHANGES In July 2008 we formally re-launched ourselves as ATG Creative Learning (formerly we had been known as the Education Department), complete with new logos and a shared visual identity. This re-brand was further enhanced with the launch of ATG's new website, Ambassador Tickets, in December 2008. ATG Creative Learning now has a substantial web presence both on the group's site, and in the form of its own micro-site,, which offers a great resource for teachers, young people and patrons. In Glasgow, we welcomed Ruth Ogston to cover Karen Townsend's post whilst she was on maternity leave, and in Bromley welcomed Jenny Batt as the new Development Assistant. Otherwise, the staff team remains unchanged. Overall, the year has been extremely successful, with the impact of our work being felt widely and positively in the regions of the UK where our theatres are based. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team, both permanent and freelance staff, whose commitment, energy and imagination makes it all happen.


43,664 people took part in Creative Learning activities in ATG theatres and £139,131 was raised in external funding. Successful bids to the government/Arts Council led initiative, A Night Less Ordinary for 4 of our venues - Trafalgar Studios, Stoke-on-Trent Theatres, Milton Keynes Theatre and the Churchill, Bromley, totalling £120k. An invitation for Glasgow Theatres to bid for major project funding in Scotland through the Inspire Fund, further to success in the development stages of the scheme. The joint Bromley-Richmond-Wimbledon Summer School, with final performance taking place in the West End for the first time. The first ever Glyndebourne on Tour Schools' Matinee of The Magic Flute, held at the Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent. The winning performances of Metamorphosis 08, Bromley's

Images from a range of work across ATG Theatres

Julia Potts Head of Creative Learning



Trafalgar Studios continues to be the focus of our energies in the West End. The concept of developing the venue as a hub for engagement and Creative Learning activity in the West End has gained currency with both the new ATG Foundation and the Arts Council. A NIGHT LESS ORDINARY The latter was evidenced by our successful application to ACE's A Night Less Ordinary programme, a free theatre ticket initiative for under 26 year olds which was launched by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, in September 2008. Trafalgar Studios was the only commercial West End venue to succeed in its application to the programme, with the result that free tickets for the venue will be offered to young people over the course of the next two years. The scheme was launched in February 2009 with a series of free workshops designed to whet appetites. A workshop on new writing in theatre, a Directing Masterclass and a post-show talk with Imelda Staunton and the company of Entertaining Mr Sloane were all well attended and enjoyed by the participants. SUMMER SCHOOL Another highlight of the year was the hosting of the ATG Summer School in August 2008. For the first time, our outer London theatres (Bromley, Richmond and Wimbledon) collaborated on the Summer School called `East Meets West End' with the final performance taking place at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End. The project involved over 100 young people and took the theme of China as its theatrical starting point, inspired by the Beijing Olympics Games. During the run of Sydney Theatre Company's production of Riflemind at Trafalgar Studios in early autumn 2008 we were also able to build links with Pimlico Academy and Kids Company, through enabling attendance for groups from both organisations. SCHOOLS' WORKSHOPS We continue to work closely with Barry Grant and Craig Hunter in ATG Group Sales to deliver workshops in association with ATG productions playing in our West End theatres. Blood Brothers and The Woman in Black workshops remain ever-popular, but the addition of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge ensured that the programme was busier than ever in early 2009. In November 2008 we also took part in Theatrecraft, a careers event held at the Coliseum, organised in partnership by the Society of London Theatre, Mousetrap Theatre Projects and the the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Programme. We delivered two very well received workshops on Theatre Management as part of this event, for which thanks to Russell Miller, General Manager (London Theatres), and Adam Knight, Theatre Manager at the Savoy Theatre. ON TOUR Two major ATG productions benefited from Creative Learning support whilst on tour this past year. The award-winning production of West Side Story toured with a thorough and highly informative Resource Pack, as well as a programme of practical workshops delivered in many of the venues on tour. This programme was put together jointly by the Head of Creative Learning and the Associate Director on the production. Noises Off, which went out on tour again in the autumn of 2008, was also supported by an updated Resource Pack which looked in detail at the origins of farce, its enduring popularity on the English stage, and the skilled way in which Michael Frayn employs these traditions in his play. The pack also featured exercises for teachers and students to use in the classroom. Both of these Resource Packs are now available to download on the ATG Creative Learning website.

Julia Potts Head of Creative Learning

East Meets West End Summer School



(In Parenthesis) rehearsal Slow Motion dance class


This year has been a busy and exciting year for The Churchill. While maintaining our existing successful programme of activities, we have concentrated on the development of our work in three main areas; supporting emerging artists and producing new work, widening participation in our community programmes, and growing our children's theatre 2nd Star. In total, £140,000 in external funding was raised in 2008 2009. Of this, £30, 000 was sourced to deliver projects supporting the Local Authority's policies for youth, community development, education, arts and inclusion. This work is primarily directed at 13 -19 year olds, which has allowed us to divert some of our resources to activities and relationships with other groups. 2nd Star, our children's theatre programme has seen major audience growth this year with 1000 attendees in total. Shows are regularly selling out as reputation improves and we continue to attract new audiences with our small scale, alternative and affordable performances from well respected companies such as Indefinite Articles and Tam Tam Theatre. PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS In September 2008 the department took part in training with Age Exchange in preparation for our reminiscence work with the elderly community. After engaging with early retired women through our Slow Motion dance class, we wanted to extend our provision for this age group. Bromley in Love is a cross generational project for women over 50 and young women's groups in Bromley. We advertised in the local press and visited local elders groups and homes and we have successfully recruited 2 groups. Our young women's groups are made up of young women sourced through Bromley Youth Services and The Girls Friendly Society, a group for single teenage mothers based in Penge. The project aims to foster understanding and relationships

between these age groups by working creatively together. Led by an all female theatre company, Hour Glass, participants are exploring each others' experiences of first dates and first loves. The project culminates in July and we look forward to reporting about it in next year's annual review. After the success of our work with young people from Connexions and Bromley Youth services in previous projects we have been maintaining links with these young people by integrating them into our youth theatre through offering a number of funded places. After successfully receiving £12,000 from the Youth Opportunity Fund the group entered National Theatre New Connections festival and worked for 4 months towards a production of Heartbreak Beautiful by Christopher William Hill. The play was being performed by 24 other Youth Theatres across the country and after receiving a glowing show report from the National Theatre judges, we have been chosen to perform the play on the Olivier stage in July 2009! OUTREACH WORK This year we have been building a relationship with The Hawthorne Centre, a satellite adult education college in Penge. We are working with 3 ESOL (adults who are learning English as a second or additional language) groups there. Subsidised tickets have been made available to the students and their families for 3 accessible shows (Pantomime, Cinderella on Ice and Chinese State Circus) many of whom had never been to the theatre before in their lives or in this country. We have recently held an open day for 60 of these students and will continue to develop this relationship. Plaster Cast Master Class has been a very successful project with The Princess Royal University Hospital children's ward. Two of the theatre's actors have been delivering story-telling in the ward on a monthly basis. This helps take children away from the difficult environment of the hospital and take them to the jungle, a mountaintop, under the sea and many other locations!

PARTICIPATORY PROGRAMME The theatre's core programme of work has expanded and we are now offering a large range of regular projects. Act One & Act Two: Our drama classes have been running for 11 years with 83 members aged 3 - 65. These groups work throughout the year to develop their theatre making and performance skills and regularly attend shows at the theatre. We are planning to widen access to drama classes by establishing new satellite youth theatre groups in poorer areas of the borough. Naughty Toes Dance Classes: Dance classes have proved to be quite a success here at the theatre. With great competition in the area we decided to run classes that were easily accessible, alternative and open to those of all abilities. Naughty Toes classes range from Baby Ballet to adult burlesque to Slow Motion, our contemporary dance class for early retired participants. Each of these classes have firmly consolidated their positions as part of our core programme. Show Related Work: In anticipation of our visit from The Tiger who Came to Tea we held a tea party attended by over 50 3 - 7 year olds with their favourite animals. To prove that Bromley is not a Lazy Town we held Bounce Around workshops for 50 under 7s to have fun getting fit. In support of The Churchill co-production Little Shop of Horrors, we developed a Monster Mache workshop, which was attended by people aged 11- 50 years old, where we designed and created oversized monster plants on a par with Audrey 2! As Bromley was the launch venue for the national tour we have offered this workshop to other venues across the country. East Meets West End Summer School: In August 2008, we collaborated with Richmond Theatre and New Wimbledon Theatre to deliver a large-scale collaborative summer project inspired by stories and performing arts from China. Five directors and their assistants took part in a 2 day workshop with a Chinese theatre practitioner to develop skills to be delivered in the week long workshops with over 100 young people across

the three venues. The project culminated in a performance by all of the young people involved, at the Playhouse Theatre, in the West End. Work Experience: Aside from regular work experience placements, for the second year we ran our special week long creative work experience project. We assembled a company of 25 students who, working alongside a director, devised a piece of theatre. They also learned to market, sell, design, and finally perform and work front of house on they show at the end of the week. Each department from the theatre spent time discussing how they work and set tasks for the group to contribute to the final piece, which was completely devised, sold and produced, by the participants.

Baby Ballet class with English National Ballet




July saw the culmination of our £77,000 Arts Council funded project, `Metamorphosis08'. Throughout the year we had been searching for 2 new plays from new writers in South East London. After a through judging process we finally whittled the 80 entries down to 6. These plays received a 2 day workshop each with a professional director, dramaturg and actors who explored the text and allowed the writers to see how the mechanics of the play would work. These plays were then rewritten and submitted to our prestigious judging panel: Jack Bradley (Literary Associate, Sonia Friedman Productions); David Eldridge (Playwright Market Boy, Festen); Lisa Foster (Literary Agent, Alan Brodie Representation Ltd); Lyn Gardner (Guardian Columnist); Gabriel Gbadamosi (Writer, Fellow of Goldsmith's College) This resulted in the commissioning of a production of Ben Hales' (In Parenthesis) and Ali Taylor's Overspill. Both were produced in a specially constructed traverse space on the Churchill Stage. (In Parenthesis), directed by Roisin McBrinn, is a play about three mountain climbers awaiting help after a fall and Overspill, directed by Tim Roseman, is a play about three lads on a night out in Bromley town centre when things go a bit awry... The performances were very well attended and had great press coverage. In late September Overspill transferred to the Soho theatre for a 3 week run, which put a little bit of Bromley into the West End! Metamorphosis08 was generously funded by


BACKGROUND Molly has been regularly attending Slow Motion classes for the past 6 years. Before joining Slow Motion she tap danced for 14 years but enjoys the variety on offer at the class, `It's something different; we get to learn a wide range of dance styles as well as elements of drama. I enjoy expressing myself and believe you're never too old to learn something new.' Slow Motion is also a good way for the women to stay healthy; `It's good exercise and great fun. It keeps us healthy physically and mentally. Every week I look forward to it and I love being able to watch the show afterwards. It's great to be part of something at the theatre and I feel at ease coming here.' The class explores many different dance styles. More than 25 women attend the class and over the last 6 years we have developed great friendships. There is a wonderful camaraderie amongst members of the group. `I've been coming for so long because I like to feel part of something. I enjoy the company - everyone's really nice. We can be very brave and we're not afraid to try out new moves' Slow Motion regularly present their work at The Churchill. Molly says that it's good to have something to work towards, `A performance is something to aim for and I love the thrill of it.' `My highlight was when my husband sneaked into a performance to see me even though he'd told me he wasn't going to come.' Molly regularly encourages her friends to join, `When you're retired and at home, it can be a bit depressing so this is a great way to meet people. It is also creatively stimulating so is far better for your brain than watching telly!' Liam Shea Creative Learning Manager Jenny Batt Development Assistant

`I've never seen him jump out of bed so fast to get somewhere!'

Melanie Pocknall, Mum of Steven, Act One Seniors


Pantomine workshop


Stow College Go Dance 09 Summer School 08


Glasgow Theatres' Creative Learning Department has enjoyed a busy year providing wide-ranging activities and audience development initiatives for people of all ages. We produced new marketing material directly targeting the education sector to promote curriculum linked work across nursery, primary and secondary schools and created a new partnership with the West of Scotland Seniors Forum providing theatre based events specifically for older people. We expanded the geographical reach of our work to rural communities within Argyll & Bute and South Ayrshire and, through our in-school projects worked with 1,500 children and young people with a further 800 participating in productionlinked activities. We have delivered 58 talks and tours of the King's and Theatre Royal fulfilling our open doors ethos, offered 12 work experience placements and a strengthened commitment to developing accessible performances has shown a 33% increase on last year's provision. DANCE Working closely with the Dance Consortium and visiting companies we offered unique opportunities for young people to learn from and work with professional dancers from Nederlands Dance Theater 2, Stephen Petronio Dance Company, Richard Alston Dance Company and Les Ballets des Trockadero de Monte Carlo. 120 vocational dance students across six colleges took part in NDT2 workshops, 80 young people in master-classes with company members from Cabaret, Thriller, Stephen Petronio and The Trocks and a further 450 people attended pre and post show Q&As. An open dress rehearsal with The Trocks was attended by 210 enthralled students with 20 going backstage to watch them apply make-up, hair and costume gaining a fascinating glimpse at the transformation from man to Trock!

GO DANCE 09 Now in its second year our community festival Go Dance 09 was a huge success involving 1,000 performers and a diverse mix of work from 40 dance schools, vocational colleges and community groups. It attracted dancers of all ages; the youngest age three and our oldest, performing in the colourful and energetic Mirage Arabic Dancers, age 73. Performing for the first time, a phenomenal group of vibrant and talented teenagers the TT Crew, formed two years ago starting with six and now with 42 members from across West Dunbartonshire. Most of the young people came to Glasgow as children of asylum seekers and refugees and their piece explored issues of cultural diversity and territorialism within communities. Increased audience figures together with significant savings on staff and technical costs saw us double revenue on last year thus securing Go Dance 10. PARTNERSHIPS Live theatre can connect with people in a way that is unique and profound and in Glasgow we have worked to strengthen existing partnerships with local authorities and service providers as well as creating new ones. We supported Glasgow's Kidzcard and Young Scot card scheme providing discounted places to young people to access our activities, and by working with the West of Scotland Seniors Forum launched Sing the Songs of... events for older people, the first of which attracted 135 people. We forged a new partnership with Joyworks, a Glasgow based company who work in theatre, education, mental health and rehabilitation and witnessed the transformational benefits their laughter workshops brought to the 60 teachers who took part. As part of a multi-venue initiative by the Scottish Arts Council to build young audiences, we established a Street Team of young people aged 16 and 25, tasked with using their social networking sites to promote performances and events. Although numbers have been low, overall this scheme demonstrated potential in utilising these sites as a marketing tool.

PARTICIPATORY PROGRAMME Show-related work: In October 2008 we worked in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company on a series of events to support Neil Bartlett's Romeo and Juliet aimed at helping young audiences enjoy, understand and extend their knowledge of making theatre. We supported eight secondary school workshops for 240 standard and higher grade students, a CPD training day for teachers and Interpreting Romeo and Juliet, attended by 326 students. Other highlights include workshops for The National Theatre of Scotland's The Emperor's New Kilt, and David Harrower's Blackbird. Summer schools: In July 2008 our week long performance project at the Theatre Royal involved 40 young people aged 8 to 14 years. Participants were encouraged to contribute creatively to the process and over an intensive five day period presented Musical Mix-Up. A further two weeks of skill-building workshops in drama, dance, interactive story-telling and theatrical make-up attracted 270 young people. We worked with the Hamilton Out of School Care Association in South Lanarkshire on a similar summer course for 40 children aged 5 - 11 years.

INSPIRE We have been short-listed by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) to develop an idea submitted as part of the Inspiring Communities fund; to commission an audio visual/dance theatre piece which integrates professional and non-professional dancers, with a particular aim of engaging young males. The SAC has awarded £9.5k to develop the idea and we are delighted to have secured Matthew Bourne's involvement for this phase. Funds of £265k have been ring-fenced and, should we be successful in the second stage, hope to continue to work with Matthew Bourne and his companies, New Adventures and Re-bourne.


With funding from the Ernest Cook Trust and corporate partner, Solution Canvas, we developed an environmental music and drama project linked to the Eco Schools initiative, an international programme that encourages whole-school action for the environment. Working together with creative links officers and cultural co-ordinators we selected schools who never or rarely gain access to visiting arts practitioners; eight from within rural Argyll & Bute and South Ayrshire as well as two Glasgow Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools. The resulting project The Big Rubbish Band was devised in-house following Curriculum for Excellence guidelines and used drama and music-making as a learning tool to explore and promote the 3R's agenda; Recycle, Reuse and Reduce, within Expressive Arts and Social Studies learning outcomes. The programme was constructed to provide a flexible template that could be tailored to suit each school, reinforcing their existing work towards accreditation. We worked with 270 young people across year groups P4-S1 over a four week period. The feedback was extremely positive, particularly from the SEN schools who commented on the high levels of concentration and engagement achieved by their pupils.

The Maryhill Integration project



What qualities do you think you need for the job and what advice would you give to young aspiring practitioners embarking on a career in arts education? I would say that to get the best out of the job you have to have high levels of energy, commitment and resilience as well as be able to adapt to different situations. In a lot of cases you are working with people who have never or seldom participated in the arts - often my job is about seeing and bringing out potential in people and building their confidence to allow them to shine. What do feel the future holds for you? The boost to my career being part of the team here is Glasgow has been immeasurable; I have seen its programme develop massively over the last few years and with it exciting opportunities for arts practitioners like me, so lots more please! I'm focused on establishing my own company further and ultimately I'd love to run my own inclusive theatre school for young people.


Becky began her career as a child actor in the popular children's series Byker Grove, an experience that kick-started a love of the arts that would bring her to Glasgow to train at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she achieved a BA Hons in contemporary theatre practice. Over the past four years she has become a key player in our creative team, devising and leading on a range of arts activities. In 2007 she formed her owned company Ultimate Arts and continues to work in partnership with us to deliver our programmes. What attracted you to working in the arts and in particular in creative learning? I've always been deeply interested in developing arts in the wider community, especially working with children. Every project is different and brings with it its own rewards and challenges. What do you find most rewarding about your career? Being able to share my own knowledge is a great feeling. Seeing someone's expression when their eyes are opened to a whole new world of possibilities occurs in just about every session. That makes me smile. What do you find challenging? With some people it can be a real challenge to raise interest and to get them to come out of their shell. I have come to realise that whilst there is a great deal of diversity in terms of activities on offer, the arts are not for everyone and I would never force someone to do something they do not want to. However it is fantastic when I'm able to break barriers down and to spark interest - often by engaging with people on their own terms and by highlighting just how much fun getting involved can be.

`A fantastic project! The tutors were excellent with the P5/6 class which is not without its problems and the presentation at the end of the work was slick and professional.'

Head-teacher, Rosneath Primary School

Alison Cowan Learning Development Manager


Backstage workshop


RAW 08 rehearsal


Progress - Success - Recognition: 3 key words to describe the achievements of the Creative Learning Department at Milton Keynes Theatre over the past year. The creative seeds we had planted the previous year came to fruition in 08/09 alongside new projects that we have developed, partnership work that we've continued to strengthen, participation figures increasing by 27% and a range of community awards that have recognised the strength of work that we have been delivering. In October 2008 the department was nominated for a Contribution to the Community Award (Business Supporting the Local Community) at the MK Chamber of Business Excellence Awards 2008. We were one of 3 companies that were short listed and although not successful, the exposure and recognition that the department received within the business community was extremely valuable. Below, in more detail, are further developments and achievements that the department has been associated with over the past year: MK4U MK4U is a voluntary festival `for young people, by young people' which takes place in Campbell Park, Central Milton Keynes each summer. The festival comprises a large group of youth volunteers who attend regular meetings throughout the year in order to plan all aspects of the festival, from marketing to litter picking! The Creative Learning Dept became involved in the project in Spring 2008 as Zone Advisors, working with a team of seven young people who created their own zone at the festival called The Alternative Zone. The Alternative Zone aims to promote creative activities and performances which are not necessarily part of the mainstream culture in Milton Keynes. Due to a limited budget, the zone members had to be very resourceful in their planning, but despite this, pulled together

a varied and impressive schedule for the weekend including live collaborations, workshops and performances in the following areas: rap, holistic therapy, martial arts, free jazz, singing, Indian dance, African drumming, bellydancing, beatboxing and poetry. Over the lead up to the festival the young people created their own resources to ensure the smooth and safe running of the zone, engaging with health and safety aspects and learning the importance of internal structures and procedures. On top of planning, managing and running the zone the team also successfully organised all of the catering for the event, which attracts an audience of 4000+. DANCE In April we ran a short contemporary dance project in collaboration with Milton Keynes Gallery. Using their exhibition at the time, Turner Prize shortlist candidate Cathy Wilkes, a group of contemporary dancers whom we have worked with on previous projects, came together to explore the exhibition themes and create a short film that previewed at the Gallery. RAW08: Our summer dance project for 12 - 19yr olds was another huge success, this time involving 80 dancers in Contemporary, Jazz and Street dance performances, themed around the idea of `The Movies'. There was a 48% increase in the amount of young people involved in the project from the year before and an 83% increase in the amount of tickets purchased. Although the project does not receive any funding we were able to offer 10 dancers from low-income families and similar target groups, free places on the project. We also involved our Youth Theatre in FOH performance activity preshow which not only increased youth participation in the project but also helped to create the `Movie' atmosphere we were aiming for. Over Summer 2008 we celebrated a number of our Street Dancers who have worked with us previously on RAW and continued their development through our weekly dance

classes, when they were selected to perform in a series of stadium tours with Urban Strides Dance Company. ACCESS In August we held an Open Access Evening in partnership with Milton Keynes Gallery, inviting disabled groups and individuals into both venues for a tour, meet and greet with venue staff and a social/networking opportunity. We also took the opportunity to launch a recruitment campaign for an Access Steering Group which we established in September with the aim of developing our offer to customers with access requirements. We meet every 4 months and so far the meetings have proved very productive with noticeable improvements made in our marketing and customer service offer. Part of this includes practical dance workshops being offered with Northern Ballet Theatre during their visits, specifically aimed at blind and visually impaired participants. Participants have the opportunity to work with the company and learn a sequence from the Ballet, before taking part in a touch tour and watching an Audio-described performance. Another added benefit has been the increased number of Access performances that we have offered this year. In recognition of the work we have achieved this year we were awarded the Company Best Practice Award by BucksVision, a visual impairment charity whose members voted for the Theatre. PARTNERSHIP WORK We are working in partnership with MK Council on a young person's anti-bullying steering group, whose members are from various Secondary schools in the city. We house and attend the meetings which are scheduled once every half-tem, as well as facilitating creative work. In June we organised a song writing workshop for the group to work with local musicians to produce an original song that could be used in MK during the antibullying week in November. The session was so successful that subsequently the group were invited into a professional

recording studio to record their work, with the final product receiving some interest from the Anti-bullying Alliance as a potential track for them to use at a national level. In January the group was awarded a Princess Diana Award for their work in this field. We have engaged with many arts initiatives in Milton Keynes with a range of partners, including the city wide Arts Fringe festival called the Big Moo, Big Draw events in October with MK Gallery, Family Fun activities linked in with a Milton Keynes City Orchestra family concert, offered 300+ members of the community an opportunity to perform pre-show throughout our 08/09 Panto, increased our offer to families attending children's' shows by offering Saturday morning free family activities on shows such as Sponge Bob Square Pants and The Tiger who Came to Tea and a host of schools and community groups on an on-going programme of tours, talks and workshops.

`Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with the students. I know you will have made a difference and we could not achieve the quality that we require without your support'.

Charlie Astbury Northampton Education Business Link




Have you been involved with drama and theatre before joining the group? Yes I attended a group called the drama factory when I was 14 years old. I enjoyed the group but wasn't part of it for very long. My friend dragged me along because he thought I would enjoy it, which I did. However over time, the number of people attending went down and eventually the group ceased to exist. How did you hear about the youth theatre and why did you want to join? My college knew that I was into performing arts and went online and did a bit of research for me and thought that the youth theatre at MKT would be a good thing for me. I was interested in joining to meet new friends, build my confidence and become more involved in performing arts. What have you got out of your experience so far with MKTYT? I have made a lot of new friends now which is great. I also really enjoyed the performance we did in Spring Term. When I joined the youth theatre I was in the script which Blaire had written. As time went on the piece developed and all of the group had our own input so it was nice to be part of that and to feel like I had some ownership over the piece. It was called `Barry' and was about a schizophrenic man who had past issues with his father. What keeps you going to the sessions? Mainly the people keep me coming because I enjoy working with them and the youth theatre leaders are great. The sessions are fun and the new projects which we are working on are really exciting. What has been the biggest highlight so far? Definitely winning the MK Festival of the Arts. When we performed I was slightly nervous at first but once we got going I was fine. We were competing against eight other youth drama groups on the night so it was a huge achievement for us, especially as we had created the piece ourselves. How do you see yourself developing in the future? I would like to work in theatre or be involved somehow whether it be behind the scenes or on stage. The youth theatre staff are really supportive and I hope that my experience with MKTYT will help put me in the right direction.

Jodie Gibson Creative Learning Manager Nicole Collarbone Creative Learning Co-ordinator


Toby is 17 years old. He was referred to Milton Keynes Theatre Youth Theatre (MKTYT) by a member of staff at Rathbone College, which is a UK-wide voluntary youth sector organisation providing opportunities for young people to transform their life-circumstances by re-engaging with learning. We arranged for Toby to attend a taster session with our `Encore' group in October 2008, with the intention of joining MKTYT in January 2009 if all went well. During the taster session with Encore, Toby was incredibly quiet and hid his face underneath his long hair. He struggled to communicate with youth theatre members at first, but the group were very supportive and included him in all the session activities. After the session we were informed that Toby had enjoyed the experience and was definitely intending to join us in January. We were also told that he had cut off his hair and was smiling for the first time in a long time. When Toby joined MKTYT in January he immediately settled into the group and started making friends. He rapidly gained in confidence during the sessions and worked really well on the small group performance for the festival. Despite some difficulties in creating their performance piece, Toby's group worked extra hard and really turned their piece around. Toby's part developed from having no lines to having several lines, which he delivered with strength on the performance evening. Toby's group achieved extra success by winning the Drama Award at `MK Festival of the Arts'. Toby is still gaining in confidence every week and he's still smiling! He is an inspiring team member with a lot of talent and is a testament to the youth theatre.


RAW08 Summer Dance project


Panto project 2008 Youth Theatre performance 2009


Richmond Theatre's Creative Learning Department aims to improve access to the theatre and to present a year-round programme of events, workshops, projects and courses for a wide cross section of the community, inspiring and equipping theatre-makers and theatre audiences of the future. Richmond Theatre's Creative Learning programme is founded on collaborations, partnerships and dialogues with a diverse range of people and organisations, which enables the work to be both artistically challenging and responsive to particular needs and interests. THE PROGRAMME COVERS FOUR MAIN AREAS OF WORK

Richmond Theatre came together with the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and New Wimbledon Theatre to deliver a large-scale collaborative summer project inspired by stories and performing arts from China. Over 100 young people participated across the three venues. The project culminated in a performance, by all of the young people involved, at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End. Based on feedback received through a consultation carried out in August 2008, Richmond Theatre has started to deliver a skills-based workshop programme for adults. An acting workshop linked to the production of God of Carnage received excellent feedback: `I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an amazing insight into acting & was very thought provoking'. COURSES Over the past year Richmond Theatre's course programme has continued to provide 150 young people and adults with the opportunity to pursue their interest in theatre, develop new skills and have the chance to perform on-stage. This year we have introduced a new early-years group: `Pre-stage', based at Heathfield Infants School in Whitton. 20 children aged 4 - 6 spend an hour a week with two practitioners developing their awareness of drama, working on self-confidence and groupwork skills and creating an annual performance. We have also worked with Richmond Mencap to establish a drama and dance group for adults with learning disabilities: Something to Say. In the words of the members, Something to Say is about acting and dancing, `it's about what we do and what we want to do'. The group, made up of 10 young adults with learning disabilities, meet at Richmond Theatre each week to work on their skills and to create performance projects. WORK-RELATED LEARNING Richmond Theatre works closely with schools and Education Business Partnerships in Richmond, Hounslow, Ealing, Kingston and Wandsworth to provide an extensive programme of work-

related learning activities for young people interested in pursuing careers in the creative industries. Over the past year Richmond Theatre has facilitated 14 work-related learning events for nearly 400 students, ranging from careers talks to industrydays. We have also hosted 20 work experience placements and interns. PARTNERSHIP WORK Over the past year Richmond Theatre's Creative Learning Department has worked closely with staff and students at St Mary's to develop and deliver theatre in education and applied theatre projects for schools and communities in Richmond, Hounslow and beyond. Over 600 people have attended or participated in events and projects delivered through this partnership. Through funding raised by Richmond Theatre Trust, Richmond Theatre Creative Learning has delivered a range of projects in partnership with local organisations over the past year involving over 2000 people who would normally experience barriers to accessing the theatre. Two examples of such projects are New Stages and the Pinocchio Project: New Stages is a continuation of our relationship with LBRuT's Family Learning Department. This year we have delivered a 12 week course for young people aged 11 - 16 and their families for whom English is a second or additional language. The aim of `New Stages' is to support language learning through the arts and the families have taken part in a range of drama, movement and visual arts activities, attended performances and are working on the Youth Arts Award. The Pinocchio Project is a continuation of our pioneering work for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities in partnership with the practitioner Keith Park. The project culminated in a production of Pinocchio, performed by 18 young people with a range of additional needs and learning disabilities, which was written and directed by a young man diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.


In 2008 Richmond Theatre Trust launched the Open Stage scheme, funded by generous legacy donations from Arthur Donald Fleming, Mary Joyce Ryan and Barbara Guelff. Through the scheme schools, groups and workers in disadvantage areas of Richmond and Hounslow can apply for up to £300 towards the cost of attending a performance or workshop at Richmond Theatre. In 2008 - 2009 over 1,300 people benefited from this scheme. OPEN STAGE AIMS

Workshops, talks, holiday programmes and one off events that complement the programme of professional productions on Richmond Theatre's main stage. A programme of regular courses for adults and young people. Work Related Learning activities for students and schools. Special projects supported by the Richmond Theatre Trust (RTT).

Bring the magic, inspiration and enjoyment of theatre to people who would otherwise be unable to attend a performance or participatory event at Richmond Theatre, or who have not done so in the past. Foster new theatre-lovers and theatre makers in the local community through the wide-ranging programme that is on offer here throughout the year.

Since April 2008 6,800 people, aged between 2 and 92 and from a diverse range of backgrounds, have actively participated in the Creative Learning Programme at Richmond Theatre. This is almost twice the number of participants from 2007 - 2008. This increase has been made possible by the consolidation of a strong team within the department, in part funded by RTT and the introduction of a new RTT funded ticket scheme, Open Stage. PARTICIPATORY PROGRAMME Over 4,000 people have participated in Richmond Theatre Creative Learning's core programme of workshops, talks, family events and holiday courses over the past year. One highlight was the East Meets West End Summer School: In August 2008,

`The people who had never been to the theatre before were able to enjoy the atmosphere. It also helped some to socialise with other people from their community'.

Darren Thorton Mortlake Community Development worker



to take the project seriously and showing them that no idea they came out with was bad. Any facilitator would know that working with young people can often be challenging, especially when you have so many different ideas, minds and identities that they bring. However the challenge is the rewarding part. Apart from funding applications which seem to be long winded and with far too many different criteria to meet the process in setting up Stage 101 came effortlessly. What were the main achievements for you and for the other young people who were part of Stage 101? Stage 101 was an achievement in itself in my opinion, to motivate young people to become more involved in a project and be responsible for what they want to show gives off a fantastic buzz. Achievements come from having the young people say that the project allowed them to become more confident in their shoes and not feel embarrassed for having opinions and ideas which may differ from others. The fact that we had a group of young people and managed to keep them engaged in a project for two weeks with a fantastic showcase and the end of it is also an achievement but what makes me feel proud the most is that now almost a year later they want to do it over and have pushed myself and Richmond Theatre to get the project up and running for 2009. How have you continued your involvement with Richmond Theatre since Stage 101? Involvement with Richmond Theatre came from making contacts with the staff there and through them I have been able to grow and develop personally and professionally. I have been able to take part in other projects as an assistant, to learn about the Creative Learning Department and how they work as well as taking part in work experience in their office. What are you planning next? Fingers crossed that Stage 101 2009 will be just as successful as last year. Through this project I would like to motivate the young people to take more of a producing role in the projects and be responsible for any other future projects.


Rita took part in a Creative Learning summer project as a Peer Mentor and went on to raise money, through the Youth Opportunities Fund, to set up and run her own young theatre company: Stage 101, with the support of the Creative Learning Team. Stage 101 performed at St Mary's University College in the summer 2008 and the young people involved have since raised further funds to develop their second production in the summer 2009. How did you first get involved with Richmond Theatre? I first got involved with Richmond Theatre whilst taking part in a community theatre project they were leading called `Larkin' About'. What made you decide to try and set up your own young company with Richmond Theatre? I wanted to create my own young company as I felt that it was very difficult for young people wanting to get involved with the arts to get involved because of lack of experience, my idea would be that we could create our own experiences. What do you think it means for an arts project to be Youth-Led? I think for a project to be youth led doesn't necessarily mean it has to be facilitated by young people, I feel it is important that ideas and development come from young people and that whatever the project showcases, shows exactly who their young people are and what they think. It is important because by allowing this freedom and independence not only are we liberating young people but empowering them to believe that it is easy to achieve what you want out of life be it through the metaphor of a project. What were the challenges you had to overcome in setting up Stage 101? Challenges included motivating young people

Morrigan Mullen Creative Learning Manager Orode Faka Creative Learning Officer

Richmond Theatre Trust's Circus 110 project 2009



Street Child summer play and The Regent Theatre dance festival


The departmental diary bears witness to the raft of Creative Learning activity which resulted in exciting new initiatives, fruitful partnerships and the consolidation of core activities during the year. Strategically, the focus is around dance and youth opera, with subsidiary activities including drama, shadow puppet theatre, pantomime, backstage tours, technical theatre workshops and work experience. Over 150 participatory events directly engaged almost 3500 individuals, aged 8 years and over. Funding applications resulted in a continuation of the youth opera programme supported by Arts Council England, The Barracks Trust and Youth Music. The regeneration of the city continues and there has been a definite shift in public opinion towards the importance of the cultural offer and the inherent benefit of a brighter future for many young people. It is very important for us to provide young people with an understanding of the creative and cultural employment sector and for them to discover more about this world of work, and our participation in college industry days and primary and secondary school careers fairs supports this. PARTNERSHIPS Our extensive work with statutory and voluntary bodies continues and regularly leads to projects which become embedded within their respective communities. For example, Creative Learning successfully tendered for two Staffordshire Community and Learning Partnership projects, and secured £3000 funding for holiday workshops for children whose families who, for socio-economic reasons, did not frequent the city centre. The outcome was a well attended programme of stimulating arts workshops which resulted in three of these children attending drama and dance classes at The Victoria Hall, and an after school dance club at the host primary school. The city's Ceramics Festival was a highlight for the more

senior members of our community, and featured a Creative Learning Reminiscence Tea Dance at The Victoria Hall. All 200 tickets were sold, with subsequent feedback requesting further dates. DANCE AND THE DANCE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAMME 09 Dance, Creative Learning's annual festival of youth dance, is increasingly being acknowledged as an example of excellent practice. The themes of Love and Legends inspired much high quality, thought provoking and contemporary work. Over 80 groups took part, presenting over 240 new pieces which were performed by just under 2000 dancers. Nine shows generated a total audience of almost 5000 people. It is believed that within the West Midlands, this event is the largest of its kind. This festival has led to school clusters from the city as well as the county grasping the 09 Dance format, and having dance galas at The Victoria Hall, with support and project management by Creative Learning and the Dance Artist in Residence. This resulted in three further shows, involving 800 dancers, with significant numbers of boys, and over 3000 audience members.

2008. New initiatives have recently been implemented nationwide through Youth Dance England, and Creative Learning is very much part of the youth dance development network within the West Midlands through liaison with Arts Council England West Midlands and DanceXchange, the national dance agency for the region. We remain a key delivery player and information and advice resource for local youth dance development in schools and for the wider community. New projects included the formation of Dance Script, a contemporary performance company for 16+ year olds, founded and directed by Rachel, which appeared as special guests at the first Telford Dance Festival in Shropshire. Rachel also continued to direct Remix Youth Dance Company, based at the city's specialist arts college, and worked with younger children over a year in a cluster of rural primary schools to create new pieces for their end of year Razzmatazz Gala at The Victoria Hall. PARTICIPATORY PROGRAMMES Youth Theatre continues for ages 8 years and over with 50 participants and professional teachers working creatively

towards informal end of term sharings, with integral trips to shows at The Regent Theatre. The new adult drama group is led by a very experienced actor. Participants attend for a variety of reasons - work related, personal confidence, amateur ambitions and the end of term is marked by `script in hand' review, produced with support from our technical crew. The summer holidays provided our most ambitious programme to date with four weeks of Summer's Cool, two weeklong dance intensives, one week of musical theatre and our first production of `Street Child' written by Berlie Doherty. 300 youngsters took part with more than 500 family members coming to see the results of their efforts.


For the first time ever, Glyndebourne on Tour programmed a schools matinee of The Magic Flute at The Regent Theatre. Katie Tearle, Head of Education, and her team, approached Creative Learning to explore how we could build on the extensive youth opera legacy which exists in Stoke on Trent and ensure the success of this ambitious venture. Significant numbers of schools had previously taken part in Glyndebourne opera workshops, as well as the more intensive residencies and performance projects managed by Creative Learning, but had yet to see a professional performance. The Magic Flute captured the children's imaginations and confirmed the rich creative potential that is uniquely captured by opera. Glyndebourne believe they deliver more education projects in Stoke-on-Trent than anywhere else on tour, through the partnership with Creative Learning, and the success of The Magic Flute schools matinee generated a tremendous sense of pride and achievement for everybody involved.

`A life changing experience. These kids were experiencing a wonderful, natural high - built on achievement, excitement, team work, challenge and trust'.

Head of Dance, Stoke-on-Trent High School The successful Dance Artist in Residence programme continues into its sixth year, with Rachel Rimmer in post from

Dance Intensive




BACKGROUND Zuhayr made his Regent Theatre stage debut in front of over 600 people when he took part in 09 Dance with the New Crew, under the auspices of Creative Learning. Zu's passions are swimming, music and dance and the latter two of these interests led to him joining twelve other young people, and being part of the creative process, learning the new piece and making his mark within the company. Zu's first brief taste of dance happened when he was five, and took lessons and had a part in a show at The Victoria Hall. Later, at his primary school, he was introduced to musical theatre and opera through a residency with Creative Learning and Scottish Opera which resulted in his whole class performing The Legend of Slim McBride to an audience of parents, pupils and staff. Creative Learning's dance intensive came at an optimum moment in Zu's life when he wished to dip back into dance. An exceptionally accomplished choreographer, Lucie Talbott, was commissioned by Creative Learning to create a piece for 09 Dance based on the theme of `Love' and young people were invited to sign up for this creative and challenging project. An attention grabbing ten minute piece emerged, telling of the hollow adoration which hovers around wealth and excessive celebrity lifestyles. In the months between the creation of the piece and 09 Dance, Zu took an extended holiday to India and he dutifully packed his practice dvd, which led to a delightful moment when Zu, having found a quiet space to privately rehearse, was joined by his inquisitive young cousins who spontaneously joined in! DANCE REACHES INDIA! Hot footing it back to the UK, Zu's free time was taken up with rehearsals to ensue the company were confident and prepared for 09 Dance. On the night Zu and his fellow dance company

members pulled off a tremendous performance, supported by a subtly moody and atmospheric lighting set designed by the crew. Zu says the experience was something he will never forget, as well as being great fun. It has improved his self-confidence and created a desire to tap into more of his dance potential. The project also gave him an understanding of the relationships which are vital to a strong performance starting within the company itself, and extending to the technical crew. Furthermore, the dvd recording from the show will ensure the India connection continues, as Zu's relatives will enjoy his performance from afar. Zu tells me he plans to join us again for our next commission for 010 Dance. He is also hoping to sign up as a founder member of our new boys dance performance company and bringing his own unique style and presence to this exciting initiative, inspired by Rachel Rimmer, Dance Artist in Residence here at the venues. And, yes... wouldn't it be wonderful to take them on tour to India!

Jo Blagg Creative Learning Manager John Coughlan Creative Learning Officer

Zuhayr in India


The work of the Creative Learning Department is made possible by the generous support of the



Creative Learning at Wimbledon aims to improve our audience's understanding and enjoyment of theatre through a wide ranging programme spanning bespoke workshops and tours, to free to access talks and classes. The past year has been the most successful one so far for the Creative Learning department. We've seen a steady growth in our participation levels, up almost 100% from last year to c.1700. New partners for work include Merton Music Foundation, the BRIT School and Celebrating Age, (an annual festival run by Age Concern and Merton council). The scope of our work has grown as well, with an extensive ticket scheme funded via the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust and Awards for All, an extended work experience programme and a specially commissioned production of Romeo and Juliet for secondary schools. Other projects piloted previously, such as the Schools' Showcase, have gone from strength to strength, showing the department building and consolidating its work and improving the range and quality of our activities. YOUTH THEATRE The New Wimbledon Theatre runs two youth theatres funded by the WCTT via the Taylor Family Foundation. The groups meet every week on Sundays in the Studio Theatre and the terms are a mixture of one off skills workshops and longer performance projects. Of the two, Debut is open to young people aged 11 - 14. Earlier this year they performed Andy Hamilton's The Exam, a dark comedy that explores the pressures teenagers face at school. Featuring incompetent teachers, parents who are irritating, pressurising or dead (!) and a chorus of Bond villains, the production was warmly received by parents and friends. `Their delivery was so realistic that it brought all the stress of sitting exams flooding back.' Debut Parent


School showcase 2008

Encore Youth Theatre in D N A

Encore is our older group made up of 14 - 18 year olds. They have just completed their third performance project this year D N A by Dennis Kelly. This very demanding piece took the audience on a journey through teen violence, peer pressure, bullying and insanity, topics that the group dealt with and performed with maturity and sensitivity. Earlier in the year, Encore performed the winning entries in a scriptwriting competition run by Wimbledon Bookfest (a local annual festival) and devised their own play, a modern fairytale about a young girl's quest to make friends in a new school. SHOW RELATED WORK Our show related work encompasses a range of activities directly linked to various productions at the theatre. Over the past year, we've run 39 events from post show talks, to classes and workshops, to tours and talks. The aim of our show work is to allow our audience to gain a greater insight into the processes of creating a piece of theatre. This the year, we've covered play writing, dance, stage make up, directing, theatre history and given away a few backstage secrets! Some events give the audience a chance to meet the performers - our post show talks this year have covered the challenges of stepping into Johnny Depp's shoes and the worst things about being an actor (forgetting your lines and staying in strange places on tour, it seems). We work with children as young as 2 and grandparents as old as 80, families, schools and groups in this area of our work. SUMMER SCHOOLS Our aim with our two annual summer schools is to set the young people a challenge - create, rehearse and perform a brand new show in five days. Our participants come from a range of backgrounds, from seasoned performers to enthusiastic new comers, but over the course of the week they usually learn entirely new skills, grow in confidence and make new friends. Just Dance has been running since ATG took over the venue

five years ago. Open to dancers of any level aged 12 - 16 the feedback for this summer school is overwhelmingly positive. In just five days, the young people learn (and even choreograph) up to six different dances to perform at the end of the week. Last year these included salsa, an Irish reel and a Fosse inspired piece. `The only way this could've been better is if it had run for two weeks, not just one!' Just Dance participant Our second summer school was an adventurous project, run in partnership with The Churchill Theatre, Bromley and Richmond Theatre. 20 young people, aged 8-11 used an old Chinese folk story as a basis for a new piece of drama. Four (very intense) days later they all travelled to the West End, meeting up with another 80 young performers from the other two venues, to perform East Meets West End. With the costumes, set, choreography, scripts and soundtrack all created in that week, it was a challenge for the staff, directors and actors, but overall the young people where so pleased and proud of what they'd achieved, we've decided to do it all over again this year using an Arabian Nights theme.

library in the borough and got 200 young people aged 3 - 16 to produce a picture of a dream. These colourful bits of fabric where then turned into our Joseph Community Dream Coat, which itself went on a tour of the libraries for everyone to enjoy. In October, we returned, this time using scraps of material, glue paint and lots of glitter to design costumes for Cinderella, Prince Charming and some very Ugly sisters. These workshops have been crucial in bringing the work of the department into some of the more remote and deprived areas of the borough. As well as being a fun and free activity for the school holidays, the libraries see these workshops as an important part to improve family relationships, encourage parents to get involved in their child's work and provide some basic support for the high proportion of residents who have English as a second language. Whether we're looking at panto costumes or making kites, our workshops always follow three simple rules: We start with a simple story telling. Everyone - parents and children - have to join in and get their hands dirty. Everyone gets a chance to share their work at the end. In doing so, we have reached up to 400 children, encouraged them and their families to do something creative, got very messy, and had a lot of fun.


In April 2008, our local library requested a few workshops for children and their families as part of their family learning week. Over the Easter holidays we ran three workshops, each creating a different work of art based on Danny the Champion of the World which was due to play in the theatre season. The sessions where so successful that we went back twice more, designing sets for Snow White and creating unusual animals for Doctor Doolittle, another show that was programmed to appear at the theatre. Before long, our fame spread and in the summer last year we went on tour. In the course of a week we visited every



Performing in the Schools' Showcase 2008



part in the Youth Theatre which is an invaluable performance training ground for students studying GCSE Drama and BTEC in Performing Arts'.

Ricards Lodge is a local girls secondary school that this year was awarded specialist Arts College status. Sarah Sawyerr is their Assistant Head and Head of Performing Arts.

`Ricards Lodge works closely with all the arts venues in the borough, but we particularly appreciate the range of performances and activities we are able to access at the theatre and visits to the theatre are not only an important part of our curriculum, but provide invaluable enrichment opportunities for our girls. For several years we have brought our whole year 7 cohort to the pantomime. Furthermore, students at Ricards now have the opportunity to be involved in the Schools Showcase which offers students the chance to perform on a professional stage working with professional theatre technicians. We also take advantage of educational opportunities which are run by the Creative Learning Department, including productions and workshops in the Studio. We are also delighted that Christina Lydon the Creative Learning manager. sits on and is an active member of our Arts Board. In addition, students at Ricards Lodge take

`It was really enjoyable and very funny, but still helped us develop our skills'.

Make up workshop participant

Christina Lydon Creative Learning Manager

The Tiger Who Came to Tea story-telling




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