Young people with a passion for drama have been given a chance to take centre stage with valuable funding from the Englefield Charitable Trust (ECT), which will support students undertaking a 12-week drama programme with The Big House.
The Big House in London works with young people who are finding life difficult after leaving care and provides them with an opportunity to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard on stage.
The funding from the ECT will support a participant on The Big House’s ‘Open House Project’ who are not receiving any financial support from their local authority. The Open House Project is a 12-week programme that runs twice a year. The current project started in April 2019 and will finish on Friday 21st June 2019.
The Open House Project uses drama to engage young people, as well as build their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills, along with other transferrable skills. The participants are offered guidance through counselling, peer-mentoring, and workshops in life and employment skills, money management, healthy relationships, CV writing and interview techniques among others.
Each year 30 young people are accepted at The Big House and 15 young people are accepted on the Open House Project. Each place requires full-funding which comes from a variety of Trusts, Foundations and individual supporters.
For over 50 years the ECT has supported a range of charities and good causes in and around Berkshire and other areas connected to the Englefield Estate, which include education, the arts, social welfare, and more.
Catherine Haig of the Englefield Charitable Trust said: “The support from Trusts, such as ours, ensures that the Open House Project can continue to help and support young people express themselves through drama and develop skills to help them in later life.
“We are proud to support projects in De Beauvoir Town and we wish all the young people the best of luck with their production”.
After the Open House Project has completed, the participants work with members of The Big House team and partnering organisations to plan their future goals and immediate targets to help get them into training, education and employment.
A participant of the Open House Project at The Big House said: “It means everything to me to be on the project because I feel a sense of community when I come here. I was really lonely before and didn't have much support in my life. Being on the project has given me a purpose."
As part of the Open House Project, this year’s production is called ‘Bullet Tongue Reloaded’ which looks at the growing problem of County Lines dealing that sees young teenagers from London recruited to sell drugs outside of the city. The production runs from 22nd May – 15th June 2019 at The Big House on Englefield Road, London.
Photograph courtesy of Helen Murray.