Theatr Clwyd have delivered vital support for young people left behind by five months of pandemic disruption by running a Creative Hub throughout August to give educational, emotional, social and creative support, and ensure much needed respite for parents and children alike.
Working alongside Flintshire County Council’s Social Services team and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the four week programme, developed by the theatre and delivered with strict social spacing and Covid-19 safety measures, saw 58 young people take part in free arts activities at Theatr Clwyd. The mix of participants included young people referred to the scheme via the Flintshire County Council team, young people with additional needs including autism and physical disabilities, and the children of NHS keyworkers who have been in school, without a break, since February.
Theatr Clwyd’s Director of Creative Engagement, Gwennan Mair Jones, said:
“It’s vitally important that we support everyone in our community, whether the theatre is somewhere they’re familiar with or not. Our blossoming relationship with Flintshire County Council’s team means we’re finding valuable new pathways to tackling social, emotional and civic issues in our county. It has been an absolute joy to support this brilliant group of young people, many of whom were visiting a theatre for the first time. Creatively reimagining how we can deliver our workshops safely has made sure that Covid-19 has been a footnote to these young people’s experience.”
The summer hub employed 28 creative freelancers as part of the Theatr Clwyd team, which saw young people taking part in a range of activities – from composing original songs and making new musicals, to sensory activities involving light, smell, texture and storytelling. This alternative educational approach, tailored for those often marginalised or excluded from mainstream education, focused on developing self-esteem, using creativity as a tool for expression, and nurturing social and communication skills, as well as demystifying the arts and culture.
Crayg Macleod, Flintshire County Council’s Senior Manager for Children’s Services, said:
“The summer hub programme has been a massive success. The variety and quality of activities offered to children and young people is impressive. The theatre and staff have worked hard to deliver engaging activities that are accessible and fun. The programme demonstrates the value that collaborative working with creative partners can have for Flintshire’s young people. Theatr Clwyd’s work in reaching out and supporting communities and families is leading to experiences that empower and support the growth and aspirations of our young people.”
Theatr Clwyd’s Creative Hub has been vital for Flintshire County Council’s team in providing a safe haven for many young people as well as preparing them for a return to fulltime education in September with routine and structure.
Throughout closure Theatr Clwyd has continued to support the local community in many different ways – encouraging creativity in young and old and those most isolated through the online Together programme, hosting blood donation sessions for the Welsh Blood Service, distributing food and creative packages to vulnerable families, leading digital dance workshops for those with Parkinson’s, and more.
Live performance is returning to Theatr Clwyd this summer as Flintshire’s creative powerhouse takes to the stage outdoors with a programme of concerts and events. The outdoor shows will take place outside the theatre from 27 August to 27 September, with limited capacity audiences and social distancing, and are key events in helping Welsh Government develop guidance enabling live performance to restart in Wales.
For tickets and further information, please visit www.theatrclwyd.com