Story #5

‘LIFE IN LOCKDOWN’ – Life-changing theatre & art-works for amazing young people in South London – Theatre Troupe

Established in 2015, Theatre Troupe normally delivers live group work, supporting marginalised young people. However, then the pandemic came along…as Artistic Director and Co-CEO, Emily Hunka explains:

“ When lockdown #1 came along, theatre became film, and group-work became online mentoring and making: the Life in Lockdown film project was born. Every week, one of our team would deliver a pack of art materials and some home-made biscuits, chatting on doorsteps at a social distance, sharing successes and challenges, making sure we were reaching out to community members who had suddenly become isolated. Each young person worked alongside a volunteer mentor to create art-work that was then incorporated into a short animation, and we brought everyone together through a celebration screening.

As the theatre world faced crisis – as did our girls – we were proud that we could adapt quickly into new ways of working. Seeing the final animation Life in Lockdown, which was the culmination of all our girls’ work, was a real moment of pride. Our volunteer mentors, who leapt to help when we put out an urgent request, are a shining example of compassion, care and creativity at a time when all of them are threatened.

For the second lockdown, we have been running Arts & Eats. This time, the weekly deliveries are art materials and ingredients for young people cook creatively: in costume, in character, alongside mentors we are only too happy to cook silly! We share our achievements in pictures on WhatsApp, to live Zoom sessions, bringing everyone together through the joy of collaborative cooking, art and theatre making. We are so proud of our young people. Here’s a taste of what they made in lockdown #1.”

Do watch their great 8 minute You Tube ‘Life in Lockdown’ film:

Theatre Troupe works with young people with mental health problems as a result of trauma, using the power of theatre to build social and emotional welfare. 

Emily continues: “ At the moment we are working with girls from SILS and Phoenix Place schools in Southwark, as part of a Young Londoner’s Fund project called I Am. When lockdown happened, both girls and their families found themselves isolated, with mental illness getting worse, and in many cases an increased reliance on food banks. Our project meant we could reach girls – safely in person and through online presence – letting them know they were an important part of the Theatre Troupe family and our community. We need amazing volunteers, generous benefactors and talented artists to help us keep doing what we’re doing, but also to reach new members of our community. We would love to bring therapeutic artistic provision like we have been developing over all the lockdowns to many more young people who experience mental distress. Any help spreading the word through word-of-mouth, and social media would help us incredibly.”

For more information: 

Twitter: @TheatreTroupe