Creative Voucher Scheme
Theatre Peckham and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Teresa Early, Theatre Peckham
Dr Catherine McNamara, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
What’s it worth? Evidencing the value of participation at Theatre Peckham
Theatre Peckham and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama undertook research into young people’s engagement with drama, theatre and performance, to support Theatre Peckham in establishing a performing arts course for post-16s aspiring to enter into education and employment in the creative and cultural sectors. Theatre Peckham wanted to ask young people directly about the value they placed on such education and participation in the arts – what was it worth to them?
The majority of the interviewees described a deep sense of enjoyment as a significant and valuable aspect of their participation. Some described the pleasure they gained from a sense of achievement, a feeling of reward after working hard at something and the enjoyment of release or escape from the everyday as they took on a character’s thoughts and experiences.
The young people spoken to reported using the skills cultivated in drama-related activities in a wide range of areas of their lives such as presentations in class and interacting with people generally.
Approximately half of those interviewed said the environment created by their teachers (in schools and theatre organisations) was invaluable to them. Some spoke of feeling comfortable, and feeling a strong sense of belonging. Some valued the relationships they built with peers as well as with staff.
The project findings were disseminated to industry and academic partners who are also seeking to enhance the recruitment, attainment, retention and experiences of young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds via a report and a panel event. The focus of the event was a panel discussion featuring researchers and practitioners speaking about their involvement and their connection with the findings, offering an overview and a set of insights into the project.
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