Drama, Applied Theatre and Education Students Work With Over 4,200 Participants Worldwide as a Part of their Collaborative Outreach Projects | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Central's Collaborative Outreach Projects

BA DATE students collaborated with Hillbrow Theatre Project to work with teenagers from Johannesburg in after-school drama workshops focusing on gender and sexuality with themes of identity

Friday, 19 July 2019

Throughout the Spring term, 2nd year students on Central’s Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course worked with over 4,200 participants across the UK and beyond as a part of their Collaborative Outreach projects.

The projects took place up and down the country, as well as internationally, and included work with primary and secondary students, LGBTQ+ youth groups, young people in care, care leavers, carers and hospital patients. 

In Mumbai, Central students worked with students, youth groups, women’s groups, and trained teachers in drama based practices. 

In Johannesburg, South Africa, students worked with young people via theatre facilitators at the Hillbrow Theatre Project and the Sonke Gender Justice Project to explore themes of gender, sexuality and safety. 

And in New York, they collaborated with Covenant House International to devise projects in a range of settings including schools and with youth and adult community members, the New York Police department, rough sleepers, and hard to reach members of the community.

Amongst their numerous projects, students worked at and with:

St. Levan School, Cornwall, UK –working with students between the ages of 3 – 11 years at St. Levan’s School, and incorporating Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality into a series of workshops and performances. 

Nancealverne School, Penzance, Corwall, UK – working with sixth form students at Nancealverne School (an SEN specialist school) incorporating Virtual Realtiiy and Augmented Reality into workshops and performances. 

LGBTQ+ Proud Trust, Manchester City Centre, Manchester, UK – working with a youth group at the Proud Trust, facilitating workshops and leading a performance incorporating music, talent, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to mark 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. Focused on the themes of peace, reconciliation and activism. 

Greater Manchester Youth Network, Mancester UK – training staff from the Greater Manchester Youth Network in drama education strategies and facilitating workshops with young people in care and young care leavers between the ages of 13 – 26 with a focus on improving communication skills, team building and confidence building activities.   

Write Yourself In with Tara Arts, London UK – Working on Write Yourself In, a Central devised and led playwriting project for young people in schools with the interconnected aims of encouraging more young people to engage in new writing initiatives and fostering aspiration in young people to study drama at higher education.  In London, Central students delivered playwriting workshops in schools and colleges, and helped run a playwriting competition for young people with the winning scripts receiving a rehearsed reading at Tara Arts Theatre directed by a professional director. 

Write Yourself In with Oldham Theatre Workshop, Oldham, Manchester UK – Working on Write Yourself In, a Central devised and led project (as above) with young people in schools across Manchester, facilitating playwriting workshops and running a playwriting competition with the winning scripts holding rehearsed readings at Oldham Theatre Workshop directed by a professional director.

Inclusion Project, London, UK – Situated as a residency within Central and working in collaboration with the School’s Outreach team, students drew on a range of performance practices including applied theatre interventions and verbatim performance to platform relevant topics and issues around inclusion and diversity in Higher Education.

Parbexia, London Borough of Bexley, UK – Incorporating a series of workshops in primary and secondary schools across Bexley, public performances, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality activities, and applied theatre interventions in public spaces, this intergenerational and layered community project was an extension of the Performing Places Bexley project. Aiming to address issues of community cohesion in the area and build relationships between schools, Parbexia was a collaboration between Central, the London Borough of Bexley, Emergency Exit Arts and local residents. 

Camden Carers, London, UK – Students provided a series of workshops and sessions at Camden Carers for carers including young adults and those in the dementia group.  Sessions focused on playwriting, Virtual Reality filmmaking and drama improvisation, as well as interactive, multi-sensory experiential story telling workshops and the creation of devised performances as a part of Carers Week.

Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith, London, UK – Students worked with the nursing staff who form part of the Dementia Team at Charing Cross Hospital in order to engage older patients or patients living with dementia. Employing creative pedagogical and performance making skills, the students worked with the patients and the hospital community to create a participatory, multisensory play.

Road Safety with the London Borough of Barnet and the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London, UK – Working with Barnet council, Central students toured Primary and Secondary schools with workshops and a production about improving road safety.  They also performed for a week at the Horniman Museum, running creative family sessions in support of the Museum’s Save the Bees campaign.

Creative Pedagogy, Mumbai, India – Over the course of a month, this all-women project group lived in Mumbai and worked in collaboration with our India partners as part of a long term (14 years) sustained engagement with slum communities and schools. Their work consisted of storytelling – including digital work and devising – with children, youth and women's groups. It also included training teachers to use drama and creativity in their teaching as well as some issue based drama teaching with a wide range of school children. 

Sonke Gender Justice Project and Hillbrow Theatre Project, Johannesburg, South Africa – In Johannesburg, Students worked with two existing participant groups consisting of youth aged 12 - 19 who are actively involved with the Hillbrow Theatre Project and attend inner-city schools around the Hillbrow Area.  The aim for the project was to explore the concepts of gender and sexuality and of finding a sense of belonging, home and safety. Students collaborated with youth participants and staff from Hillbrow as well as the Sonke Gender Justice Project to create a gender and sexuality based production to perform as a part of Youth Day celebrations.

New York, New York, United States of America- Students lived in New York for a month and worked with a diverse range of applied theatre practitioners, schools centres including Irondale.  In each location, students shared their knowledge and practice in addition to developing their approach to engaging a range of young poeple within the various projects in which they took part .

Central’s Dr Nicola Abraham said of the work:

“Our second year collaborative outreach unit enables students to take their learning out of the classroom and into community contexts.  As part of this process, student teams are supported by an expert practitioner from the BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course team and the broader applied theatre industry to supervise their project, providing advice and guidance.  This year, we have reached an incredible 4,200 people through 14 projects in 4 countries creating exciting and innovative practice that is culturally responsive and inclusive for a range of community groups.”

Applied Theatre at Central is highly regarded internationally and Drama, Applied Theatre and Education is a world leading course that trains graduates to be highly adaptable theatre makers. Students focus on performance making in diverse settings such as community centres, parks, prisons, pupil referral units, refugee camps, hospitals, playgrounds, schools and nursing homes, in the UK and abroad. Such innovative work aims to bring about change in communities and participants from all walks of life.  

As a part of their studies, many students have the opportunity to travel and explore the use of drama in diverse community settings. In recent years, students have undertaken projects in places such as New York, Johannesburg, Bulawayo, Hong Kong, Santiago de Chile and Mumbai. Most of this work is undertaken in partnership with international arts organisations, which work closely with course tutors and students to design, develop and deliver projects. Central has the only applied theatre courses on which students have access to funding from the Leverhulme Trust to support these distance projects.

We are still able to accept applications for a small number of courses starting in October 2019 including BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education. Visit our clearing page now to find out more and register for an interview. 

This year, we have reached an incredible 4,200 people through 14 projects in 4 countries creating exciting and innovative practice that is culturally responsive and inclusive for a range of community groups.

Dr Nicola Abraham