Hackney group makes theatre work for the young

Big House Theatre Company rehearse at Hackney Downs Studio Hackney London sE8 2BT 270913 © david.altheer@gmail.com

PEOPLE WHO resent the amount of money given to the arts should perhaps see a company that has set up in Hackney.

The Big House Theatre Company believes it can demonstrate that the lives of young people from unfortunate backgrounds can be transformed by theatre.

This new charity, based at Hackney Downs Studios, above, works with people aged between 16 and 25, who have left the care system. They may, for example, have been fostered by a family and be finding life on their own difficult.

The Big House says it “supports the transition from care to independent living through the theatre arts and wraparound care”.

Big House producer Matthew Schmolle told Loving Dalston how it does this. “We create a show based on their own experiences,” he said, “and they put it on.”

Why would people want to see a show acted by amateurs, albeit one written by a professional from the lives and words of the cast?

Schmolle said: “I expect the public to be interested because it gives an insight into the lives of these young people as they emerge from the care system.”

The first production got under way in August. A group of care leavers took part in drama workshops, individual and group therapy, mentoring, life and employment skills, and rehearsals for the first production, which is due to open next month.

Hamish Scott 240913 

* The 75-minute Phoenix: A Girl On Fire is scheduled at Studio 52, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT from Tuesday 1 October 2013 to Saturday 5 October 2013, 7.45pm: £5 on the door.  No lifts.

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