Kiln Theatre today announces their Creative Engagement programme for Summer 2020, with all the theatre’s outreach programmes and initiatives now being provided online. The theatre’s Minding the Gap project for young asylum seekers and refugees, Youth Theatre, Young Companies, and The Agency, which is part of Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture, are continuing, with participants receiving their planned sessions and ongoing support.
Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, said today, “I’m very relieved to report that our work with young people from across North-West London continues. This month our brilliant practitioners moved all their workshops online. We are so proud to be continuing our drama projects against all the odds, and genuinely excited to see what new opportunities taking on this new online dimension will bring. This would not have happened in other circumstances, but new learnings will come from it. We hope that our projects bring continuity, community and a space for self-expression for young people who may be feeling isolated and concerned. We are also running free series of playwrighting workshops for emerging artists in NW London and will have some more Kiln Insight activity online shortly.
“With our building closed for the immediate future and no sign of productions quite yet, we are now thinking about the role that we play as a civic space within our local communities. We are in the process of researching, listening and discussing and will have more news to share soon.”
Minding the Gap provides weekly theatre sessions for young people aged 14-19 who have recently arrived in the UK, with the aim of supporting them to develop their spoken English, their teamwork skills, and their self-confidence. A digital programme of weekly drama sessions is being carried out principally through social media, via the Kiln’s private Creative Engagement Instagram account – a medium which is accessible to all the programme’s participants.
Alongside these activities, the Creative Engagement team will spend time documenting the ethos and practice behind Minding the Gap, including sharing case studies of students and example exercises from practitioners, with the hope of creating a resource that could support other teachers/practitioners with their practice and continuing professional development.
Kiln Theatre’s Youth Theatres and Young Companies are also continuing their weekly sessions, now being held remotely via Zoom. The groups are using the theme of ‘isolation’ as a focus for their activity this term, sharing their thoughts and emotions on the Covid-19 pandemic in real time. In place of a showcase, the end of term performance from the Young Company will be recorded and shared on the Kiln Theatre website for a wider audience to enjoy.
Head of Creative Engagement Jenny Batt said “One of our priorities is the welfare of our participants and the wider community in this very hard time, and we are committed to staying connected and supporting them however we can. Our team of community artists has responded positively to this challenge by creating some brand new and brilliant work and I can’t wait to see their collaboration with young people continue this term.”
They are also continuing to support the 23 young people across Brent taking part in The Agency, a Battersea Arts Centre and Contact programme in partnership with People’s Palace Projects.
The initiative, supported by London Borough of Culture and hosted at Kiln Theatre as part of Brent 2020, supports young people to develop their own projects that will create meaningful change in their communities. Although the Agents’ project presentations to a panel have been postponed, the team is sustaining a regular level of contact with them and will ensure they have structured opportunities to connect with each other. In collaboration with Brent 2020, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture, Kiln Theatre is also creating a commissioned opportunity for the Agents to respond creatively to the Coronavirus situation.
Throughout this period, the team is also creating a new resource pack for schools that aims to explain and demystify the theatre production process. Featuring contributions from across the Kiln team, the pack will be available for download on the Kiln Theatre website and will explain the theatre production process from start to finish, describe the various roles within theatre and how they connect, and contain examples of working documents and interactive templates.
In addition to the Creative Engagement programme, Kiln Theatre is also currently running an artist development programme for residents of North West London, to support and inform practice, inspire and release creativity.