In November, Central was delighted to announce receipt of £94,800 from the Big Lottery Fund for its continued work with Outbox Theatre, a project with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Using the funding, Central will build on a project launched in January 2010, allowing LGBT people to share their feelings and opinions through applied theatre workshops and performance. The original project was aimed at people aged 18 to 25 but will now expand to include older people.
The Outbox project aims to address the problems of low self-esteem and self-confidence in younger LGBT people, alongside the issues of isolation and loneliness in older LGBT people. The work undertaken is inter-generational, and tackles need through theatre techniques and partnership working.
In devising the project, LGBT youth groups nationwide were consulted and a gap in inter-generational work within the LGBT community was identified. LGBT youth groups across the country will work with Central to provide annual workshops for the young people accessing their services and consisting of a day of drama and activities which educate about LGBT history and culture. A focus on self-confidence, self-esteem and communication skills will be beneficial for use by both participants and their support workers. There will be a professional production per year which will play in London, as well as another city in the UK.
Ben Buratta is Artistic Director of Outbox and a lecturer on Central's BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education. He says 'We are delighted to receive this funding which will allow us to continue this crucial intergenerational work with the LGBT community. Outbox provides a safe space in which younger and older LGBT people can share stories and experiences; providing an experience outside of the usual bars and nightclubs, where they can feel part of the LGBT community. We are looking forward to producing more exciting theatre which reflects and represents many of the unheard and forgotten stories of the LGBT community'.
An established model of partnership working will see Central collaborate and consult with LGBT charities and organisations. Charities working with older LGBT people will be consulted in order to access groups who would like to take part in the workshops, interviews and performances. Thus, a forum in which older and younger LGBT people can socially interact will be established.