A Theatre Trip for Every Child

Deptford Foundry
9 months ago

Anthology is proud to be supporting the fantastic ‘A Theatre Trip for Every Child’ initiative for a second consecutive year.

The initiative, run by Deptford based, The Albany, is a pioneering scheme centred on the belief that every 5-year old in the borough of Lewisham should have the opportunity to benefit from early access to the arts.

We hear from Cassie Raine, Campaign Manager, about what this year has in store for the children of Lewisham.

How has the ‘Theatre Trip for Every Child’ evolved since last year?

This year the focus has been on ‘Every Child’ week, a week of specially programmed shows, followed by a Q&A with the actors after every show. We wanted to look at ways that we could increase engagement and learning for the children. By giving the children a chance to explore the play in more detail and meet the actors in person we hope this will be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with theatre that the children will remember for years to come.

How many children has this campaign supported with a trip to the theatre?

I can’t talk about Year 2 yet as we still have some time to go but in year 1 we raised £35,000, funding free tickets for 3,500 primary school children to come and see shows at the Albany.

The Theatre Trip For Every Child campaign has been an astonishing collaborative achievement. Lewisham businesses, residents and schools have all come together to make the really vital investment in the future of these young people and ultimately the future of the borough.There’s still everything to play for this year. With three weeks to go, people are still able to donate.

The beauty of this scheme is that the more money we raise the more youngsters are able to benefit from it. We managed to accommodate Year 1 children but with enough funding children in other year groups could attend in the future. So far, we’re on track to meet the fundraising targets we set for the pilot but the sky’s the limit for the future- the more we raise, the more local children can benefit!

How do you think the theatre experience benefits a child?

Theatre benefits kids in so many ways. Arts and culture have a huge role to play in promoting wellbeing, stimulating community cohesion and tackling social isolation. Engaging children at a young age is proven to have a significant impact on their future development in so many ways including helping them understand themselves and their world, connecting more fully with their environment; promoting creativity, allowing children to think outside the box; enabling children to express themselves in a safe environment; encouraging neural connections; developing problem-solving abilities and questioning techniques.

There are countless studies that demonstrate this impact and what’s more is that, in giving children access to arts and culture at a young age, they tend to be much more likely to have the confidence and interest in taking part in arts and cultural activities throughout their lives. So what we’re doing is likely to have a much longer-term impact.

From personal experience, I’m also an actor, I know first hand the impact that theatre can have. My first trip to the theatre was literally a life changing event!

Which show will children be able to see during ‘Every Child’ Week this year?

For ‘Every Child’ week this year the kids will see ‘Hansel and Gretel’ by Uchenna Dance, a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tale finds our two young heroes lost in London, overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells. You can watch the trailer here.

With the pilot completing this year, what’s the next steps for this initiative?

The Albany is keen to look at ways of deepening the learning from this project, engage with more children and their families and ensure that the beating heart of the Lewisham Community is a creative one.

We need to continue raising funds to be able to give out free tickets and need to continue building relationships with local people and local businesses to do so. We’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in supporting the scheme- from sponsored runs to bake sales, we’d be really keen to discuss any ideas.

What other great events are coming up this Spring/Summer at The Albany Theatre?

This Spring sees the launch of the Albany’s REBELS season which is all about pushing boundaries and challenging expectations. Encompassing theatre, spoken word, music visual arts and more, alongside a pay-what-you-decide workshop and talks programme there are lots of opportunities to get involved. There’s also still plenty for families to get stuck into with shows that will keep imaginations of all ages entertained. Book here.

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To find out more about how you can support the campaign, visit the Albany website: thealbany.org.uk/support-us/every-child/ or get in touch with Campaign Manager, Cassie Raine on 020 8692 4446 or everychild@thealbany.org.uk