Help Waterway Workshop Open up Theatre Training

by Waterway Workshop in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Total raised £715

raised so far



Help Waterway Workshop deliver its first cohort of workshops to open up theatre training and participation, in the UK and internationally!

by Waterway Workshop in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 24th January 2023 we'd raised £715 with 12 supporters in 21 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

What is Waterway Workshop?

Waterway Workshop seeks to connect theatre training to a larger and more diverse audience group. To do this we deliver convenient and affordable one-off workshops, on various specific topics and suitable for different levels. Theatre has long been called a “closed community” (Nordicity, Theatre Workforce Review). Current theatre training often requires commitment to expensive and long courses and is inaccessible to those outside elite groups. The current supply in the market mismatches the needs to obtain convenient and accessible training of in-career professionals, emerging artists and those just interested to participate. Waterway aims to change this with a unique model focused on one-off workshops (in-person in London and online internationally), empowered by collaborations and digital operations.

Qingyang founded Waterway in September 2022, after having prepared for it for over a year. Since then Waterway has delivered pilot workshops and offerings, established initial operations and collaborations and built first social media followings. The plan right now is to continue to deliver more workshops while exploring the way we do things and prepare for a full launch by May 2023.

Crowdfunding will provide crucial support to start this stage, for development in these aspects:

  • Establishment of core collaborations & partnerships
  • Artistic and operational R&D alongside delivering a first cohort of workshops
  • Digital assets and tools, including the website and marketing
  • Marketing activities to engage with our target groups and foster a participant community

What has the journey of Waterway been like?

The combination of Qingyang’s personal trajectory in theatre training and her observations and research along the way leads to the discovery of market problems and a solution to them.

Founder’s Journey

Qingyang’s theatre training did not start in a drama school but embarked in a practical and casual learning environment similar to workshops. These include acting and directing as a kid, being a leader in productions and workshops in university in China and UK including working on a 5-star show at Edinburgh Fringe, as well as an internship of organising guest masterclasses at Guangzhou Opera House. She deepened her passion and knowledge about theatre and workshops when she went on to pursue an MA in Theatre Practice at the University of Exeter, where she was trained in advanced performing, creative and research approaches and made collaborative work in the studio. After a graduation influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic and while forming a journey as an artist, she acquired more insights into the industry through research, working and communicating with people at different points of their theatre journey. All these waved their ways into the idea of building Waterway.

What milestones has Waterway achieved so far?

Business Plan & Market Validation

After conceiving the initial idea in the autumn of 2021, Qingyang went on to conduct primary and secondary market research, including surveying and interviewing target groups as well as consulting industry data. These research validated the idea and helped shape the design of the business model. A comprehensive business plan covering innovation analysis, financial and project planning for the next 5 years was formed in the spring of 2022. 

Company Establishment

Qingyang moved back to the UK and officially founded the company in September 2022.

Pilot Workshops

We have explored both in-person and online workshops for now with our first collaborators. Particularly, our pilot in-person workshop, “Physical Movement and Playful Fun” with Alice Higginson-Clarke from Scratchworks Theatre Company was a sold-out success with heated positive feedback from the participants.


(Moment from workshop "Physical Movement and Playful Fun", Camden People's Theatre, London, Oct 2022)


"It was fun at our very 1st workshop! ...After getting to know each other a little bit, Alice led the group to start with games to help people warm up and connect as part of the group. Moving, stretching, responding, laughing, familarizing with the space…" -- Blog published on our website, read it here:

Quoting some of our participants:

“The facilitator is really good and the workshop is well planned and packed with good stuff“

”I like the playfulness and not having to perform in a certain way“ (Amalia)

”It was so relaxing and took my mind of my stressful day job!“ (Becca)

"Helpful and relevant with wellbeing" (Connie)

First-hand experience gained from the workshop has enabled us to know more about the needs of the target groups that we strive to serve and shape the action plan of our next steps.


Initial Social Media Rapport and Engagement with Followers

With each mini campaign building up our rapport on social media – primarily on Instagram, Twitter, Little Red Book (content-focused social media app reaching Chinese people internationally, among other users) and Eventbrite at the moment (but we plan to get onto Facebook and TikTok shortly), we have shared creative, informative and inspiring pieces of content, such as quotes, original blogs and advice and short videos. These posts not only helped Waterway garner interest online but also delivered thoughts about training to a wider community out there. We are happy that in this age social media activities have also become a way to realise our mission to open up theatre training. 



We have also got close to our target groups through the direct messages that we received, getting to know better what part of a workshop that really interests them or what area of practice people would like to explore.

Why is Waterway crowdfunding now?

In order to have a full launch of the whole model by May 2023, Waterway’s immediate next steps in the new year are to deliver more pilot workshops on different topics, build a first network of collaborations and partnerships and shape our efficient operations of high artistic quality.

How the money will be spent

The 3620 pounds we pledge will fund the immediate next steps in the different aspects said above, taking place from January to March 2023. This includes:

  • Initial payment for website upgradation and subscription of digital tools
  • Marketing costs in consultation on strategic planning and day-to-day boosts
  • Space hiring for in-person workshops
  • Payment to collaborators/workshop leaders
  • Hot Desking for the founder and volunteers
  • Basic allowance for the founder during the project time

The number is calculated through a budget balancing the costs and income –  including crowdfunding and revenue made from workshop sales.

A drop of water from you will help make the Waterway going far.

What impact will there be on the way ahead

  • We will be able to connect a wide range of workshops, led by amazing network of collaborators, to those who can benefit hugely from them but currently do not have easy access to theatre training or participatory events.
  • More people will be able to enjoy the well-being effect brought by theatre-related activities
  • We will contribute to international theatre exchanges through online workshops
  • We will change the status quo of training/entry into theatre being elitist
  • In the long term we will contribute to social mobility and diversity of workforce in the arts

To be able to take all these actions, we need your support to really get Waterway off the ground.

Don't forget to check out our amazing rewards curated for supporters too! (on the righhand side of the page)



This project offered rewards

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Pledge £10 or more, receive an EXCLUSIVE newsletter edition covering workshop stories, practice blogs, tips and more in the spring of 2023.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Pledge £25 or more, not only get the £10 reward but also receive a £6 voucher to use on any purchase of our workshops! Note that our 1-hour online workshop is only £9 so that means you'll have more than 50% off!

£35 or more

£35 Reward

Pledge £35 or more, not only get the £10 and £25 rewards but also be invited to a special FREE workshop only for our funders. The founder Qingyang will lead this workshop drawing on her own performance practice which includes a wide range of techniques. For this workshop rewards places are limited so grab your place fast :) (This workshop will be online so that our globally-based funders can all join)

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