We serve thousands of schools across more than 35 councils in London and the South East and have toured primary and secondary schools with high quality professional theatre since 1966, becoming a charity in 2009 with the aim of ‘bringing live professional theatre to children, opening up for young people a world of theatre and literature’.
The vast majority of our work is in the state sector, covering some areas of huge economic and social deprivation. During 2019 we performed 366 shows in 240 schools, giving more than 70,000 young people an opportunity to watch live theatre, many for the first time, laying the foundations for a love of live theatre to last a lifetime.
Whilst still performing, in December, the fairy story-based shows for primary schools with which the company first established itself, our one-hour secondary school Text Study Productions (comprising key scenes interspersed with discussion and analysis) have become so popular that they dominate our work for the rest of the school year. They became so successful this year that in February we launched a second Macbeth company to meet demand. We currently also have Romeo and Juliet and A Christmas Carol in our repertoire and are looking forward to producing our new text study show, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is already written, as soon as the schools reopen.
Our interactive workshops are also increasingly popular, empowering young people to express themselves confidently and awakening an awareness of how live theatre and Shakespeare in particular can influence the world around them, with rap and grime music having particular resonance.
Each November we employ 20 new actors many of whom are recent graduates. We work with actors to help develop their skills and several have gone on to work with us for subsequent tours, gaining experience of directing, tour management and arts administration.