Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to fund Access to Theatre programme
United Learning’s performing arts provision has received a significant boost after the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awarded the group £49,000. The grant will fund the Access to Theatre Programme which will give the Group’s secondary school students access to some of the country’s best performing arts practitioners.
The programme will be delivered at 24 schools over two years through two strands:
- Physical Theatre delivered by internationally renowned theatre company Frantic Assembly;
- Contemporary Dance delivered by all-male dance company Ballet Boyz.
As part of the programme, Frantic Assembly and Ballet Boyz will work in United Learning schools to nurture and hone the students’ acting and dance talents. They will run energetic and engaging workshops for students and will work with them and their teachers to prepare for show-stopping performances at the end of the year. The performances will showcase what the students have learnt during the year and will take place in professional venues. Teachers will also receive high-quality professional development so that they can support students.
The award follows the successful delivery of the Access to Theatre pilot programme which had a very positive impact on students – both in terms of their dancing and acting abilities and in terms of their attitudes towards theatre and dance as explained by Accrington Academy teacher Nicky Grace:
“The confidence of students involved has rocketed and they now believe that with simple devising blocks they can devise amazing theatre.”
This was echoed by Lambeth Academy teacher Flavia McGuiness:
“This project has given students more confidence with regards to stepping out of their comfort zone. This has been a highly valuable life experience for them in feeling more confident about themselves.”
Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said:
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. As our pilot programme showed, the Access to Theatre programme can have a really positive impact on students and we are so pleased to be able to offer these opportunities to more students across the country. As well as giving students the opportunity to train with some of the country’s most talented actors and dancers, this programme seeks to broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations. The impact of performing arts of young people’s confidence is significant and we look forward to seeing our students develop over the course of the programme.”
Dame Sally Coates, Director of Secondary Academies at United Learning, said:
“We are delighted to receive such a significant grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Whilst we already offer our students a thriving and stimulating performing arts programme, this grant will enrich our provision and give our students the chance to learn from the very best actors and dancers in this country.
“Our Access to Theatre programme has already proved successful in making our students think more creatively, be more confident and believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to. Through this grant, we can now extend these benefits to students across our group.”