At Theatre For Life we want to use theatre to promote inclusion and collaboration through purposeful theatre projects, enriching the young lives of our company members aged between 14-25 years of age.
Describe in one word how theatre has helped you change your life?
HELPING THE COMMUNITY
Financial constraints can often prevent young people from participating in arts programmes outside of education, at Theatre for Life we want to ensure every young person has the opportunity to be involved in the projects.
Figures brought to light in a recent paper by academics from the London School of Economics and University of Edinburgh found that, of all actors included in the Office for National Statistics labour force survey, just 16% were from a working-class background. This compares to 33% of the nation coming from working-class backgrounds.
(The Guardian Newspaper, Gloria De Piero and Tracy Brabin)
Financial disadvantages will be addressed at Theatre for Life as we are a not for profit organisation and therefore will not charge participants to join the youth theatre company. The Southampton IMD 2015 analysis also highlighted that 13.5 % part of the decline in deprivation was a lack of education, skills and training. At Theatre for Life we firmly believe in collaboration, by allocating specific roles and responsibilities, each company member will have a part to play in the creation of the projects. Job roles will be in acting, stage management, lighting, sound, costumes, make-up, props, marketing, media design and directing and will be carefully constructed to mirror the working practices of the industry. By providing these opportunities the young people will have the chance to improve generic working skills in communication, team work, organisation and time management which are applicable to education and jobs both in the arts and in other areas of employment.
Theatre for Life will be running two companies, providing greater access to theatre for a wider range of ages and young people in the area of Southampton.
Warming up under the guidance of director Michelle Smith.
Being involved in a theatre project is a positive outlet for young people and encourages social interaction and being part of a community.
Theatre for Life workshop
THEATRE FOR LIFE YOUTH COMPANY
Theatre for Life youth company will be ran as a weekly evening youth theatre group for 14-18 year olds, this group will reach out to young people from a wide range of backgrounds, creating purposeful theatre which is relative to them and their community. Personal development skills are an inherent part of working on theatre projects as not only does the active participation encourage responsibility, it also can develop empathy and an awareness of the world we live in. Through role play and storytelling, actors can place themselves into the lives of others, learning about what is morally and socially acceptable. Using role-play scenarios the young people can become more self-aware, making more informed and better life choices.
Drama work can also help with improving speech, presentation skills and self-promotion, which can be applicable to all areas of employment and life.
THEATRE FOR LIFE WORKING COMPANY
Theatre for Life working theatre company will be set up as an initiative to help young people from 18-25 years of age gain valuable work experience in a touring theatre company. The focus of the working theatre company is for each member to have a designated role and responsibility within the team to mirror the working practices of a touring theatre company. Using verbatim theatre and live research, we will create projects that address subject matters such as crime, anti social behaviour, health and wellbeing, tackling themes that are relative to the immediate community In addition the actors and production team are learning to be responsible by working as part of a team, utilising skills in communication, negotiation and time management, which are highly beneficial to personal development and all areas of employment. The working theatre company will tour the work to local schools and community groups creating a range of outreach projects that can connect with the wider community. The projects will be be educational in content and will allow for debate and workshop exploration to further understanding on the subject matters being covered.
Our company name Theatre for Life captures our core values on how theatre and performing arts can be invaluable in nurturing a young person's life, improving self esteem, creative development and awareness of the world they live in.
Ashleigh's Silence workshop - breaking the silence on Autism
Chloe Seaborn - 18 years old (Former student)
I found when working with Michelle, that she really helped me fully expand my understanding of what it's like to be an actress. She helped me understand all the core acting techniques and practitioners, building on my foundations and helping me further my skill in the profession. I have always had a passion for theatre, having grown up performing in amateur plays, but working with Michelle really helped that passion grow and has helped me decide on plans for the future. I am currently studying Musical Theatre BA(hons) at the University of Winchester and I plan on training my voice so that I can become a voice actor in the future. Without Michelle's training I would have never been able to come up with my plans for the future and would have never had the proper foundation training to begin looking into those career. Theatre For Life is a brilliant idea and I feel the community would benefit from Michelle's training as it will give a lot of young people the training that will help them further their ambitions in acting.
Ollie Pope - 18 years old (Technical support on productions)
Michelle as a director:
Working with Michelle is always an absolute pleasure. Whenever she asks me to work on something, I always agree to do it before she finishes asking me the question! I have only worked with Michelle twice, when she was directing for Ghost and Rent The Musicals. But both times, they are productions that I will remember forever. The professionalism she had throughout was inspirational, and can be to other directors. I am positive that Michelle’s work will go on to inspire others.