London theatre staff members have embarked on rigorous, military style training, led by the Commando Temple in Deptford to be ready for a loaded, marathon walk, covering 26 miles in just two days and carrying 130kg between them. This challenge aims to raise £10,000 on GoFundMe enough to take 1,000 primary school children to the theatre.
Over 2,300 children have already benefited from free theatre tickets thanks to a campaign backed by Patrons Noma Dumezweni and Jude Law. The campaign is now expanding to try to give every child in the London Borough of Lewisham a free theatre trip.
A Theatre Trip for Every Child provides free theatre tickets for children in school year 1 in the Borough of Lewisham, one of the worst in the UK for child poverty. 34.7% of Lewisham’s children live in poverty*.
The campaign is run by the Albany – an arts centre in Deptford, Lewisham.
Olivier award-winner Noma Dumezweni, who starred as Hermione Granger in the West End and is currently on Broadway performing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child commented:
‘Theatre is a collective experience that it’s vital we share with young people because it can have a huge impact on their development and outlook. It’s so important that these children are invited into the theatre with open arms so they know, beyond a doubt, that they are welcome in the theatre and that theatre is for them. I urge you support the GoFundMe in aid of ‘A Theatre Trip For Every Child’. The campaign has already provided so many local children with a potentially life-changing experience at the theatre, but they need your help to reach Every Child in Lewisham, every year!’
Jude Law who grew up in Lewisham commented:
‘I’m so proud to be a Patron of A Theatre Trip For Every Child. So far over 2,300 children have benefited from this campaign, many of whom simply would never have been to the theatre otherwise. In order for theatre and the arts to have a special place in young people’s lives, we have to encourage that connection from as early an age as possible. I urge you to support the GoFundMe Dartmoor Challenge and help A Theatre Trip For Every Child reach as many youngsters as possible.’
Thanks to their support, nearly £25,000 has been raised since the campaign launched in June 2017. Visit www.gofundme.com/every-child-dartmoor to find out more.
A Theatre Trip for Every Child aims to improve access to the arts for children across Lewisham from an early age. Those on low incomes often have least access to opportunities in London and that includes arts engagement. Early access to the arts contributes significantly to a child’s development, sparking their curiosity and giving them new perspectives on the world. The campaign centres on the belief that every child should have the opportunity to benefit from that experience.
The campaign has seen children from 40 Lewisham schools attend productions of tutti frutti’s Ugly Duckling and Engine House’s Grandad’s Island.
The campaign targeted schools with the highest proportion of free school meal places (or Pupil Premium) first. In the case of one the first schools to take up free tickets, 84% of their student body are eligible for free school meals. Four out of the five schools with over 50% of students eligible for Pupil Premium in the borough have now attended the theatre through the scheme.
To date, 56% of Lewisham Primary Schools have taken advantage of the free tickets. The remaining schools will be offered tickets in the next six months. So no one misses out, the team behind the campaign are working in collaboration with Special Educational Needs schools to tailor the offer to their student’s needs.
Young audiences described the shows they saw and their trip to the theatre as ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’, ‘great’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘better than the chocolate pancakes I had for breakfast!’
To support a child, a whole class, year or even a postcode to experience the magic of theatre, please contact Cassie Raine, Campaign Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the webpage at www.thealbany.org.uk/everychild.
*For more on levels of deprivation in Lewisham see: https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/data/boroughs/lewisham-poverty-and-inequality-indicators/
A Theatre Trip for Every Child launched on 23 June 2017 thanks to funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England, and the support of founding sponsors, L&Q and patrons Noma Dumezweni and Jude Law. The Lewisham campaign is run and managed by the Albany in Deptford, Lewisham. A parallel project runs at ARC in Stockton-on-Tees. Visit www.thealbany.org.uk/everychild for more.
The Albany is a performing arts centre with a history stretching back to the nineteenth century. Over the last few years, it has emerged as a new type of arts venue, driven by the cultural diversity and creative mix of south east London. Involving people, through participation and partnerships, is central to our work and is essential to the delivery of our vision.
The Albany has re-established itself as a significant London arts venue, building on a reputation as a home and seeding ground for creative development in the performing arts. Our programme encompasses a range of music, theatre and spoken word, as well as an array of participatory projects. The Albany has a year-round focus on family audiences for children of all ages, with an annual audience of over 15,000. We present regular Family Sundays focused on theatre for under 7s, self-produced Disco Kids events, holiday activities and a four-week run at Christmas, as well as work at our sister venues Deptford Lounge and Canada Water Culture Space.
ARC Stockton is committed to supporting and improving the amount and quality of artistic work being made in the North and is the artist development hub for the North East region. We deliver a comprehensive programme of artist development, primarily aimed at drama, dance and spoken word artists.
ARC’s artistic policy is to present work that is contemporary and relevant. By that, we mean we want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite our audiences about the future.
ARC’s family programme is mainly focused on work for under 7s, with some work for 8 – 12 year olds. As well as an extended run for ages 3+ at Christmas, we present theatre, dance and puppetry performances for younger audiences on Saturdays approximately once a month.