Western Morning News

Funding boost for theatre’s outreach work

- WILLIAM TELFORD william.telford@reachplc.com

LOCKED down Theatre Royal Plymouth has received a share in £150,000 to support its outreach work with people such as offenders, drug users, the homeless and those with mental heath issues.

The cash, from Co-Creating Change Growth and Replicatio­n Commission­s, is for the flagship Our Space Project, a creative programme working with adults with “multiple and complex” needs who may have faced challenges involving homelessne­ss, isolation, mental health issues, substance misuse or reoffendin­g.

The award is one of only five given in the UK and will enable the Our Space team to scale up and/or spread out to new locations.

Co-Creating Change is a Londonbase­d organisati­on which encourages artists to work together to help communitie­s improve their lives.

It is supported by Arts Council

England, founder funder the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The award comes after the Theatre Royal, which had to close during the coronaviru­s lockdowns, was bailed out with an £806,000 Arts Council England payment in July 2020, and £1.896million from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund in October.

The Our Space project began in 2008 in response to rough sleepers sleeping in the doorways of the city centre theatre.

Our Space is now a large-scale creative programme working in the community, in the theatre and making public work with artists and has worked with 724 people, 44 referral partners and is available on social prescripti­on.

Through the new commission Our Space will deepen its collaborat­ions in Plymouth by working closely with the council-funded Plymouth Alliance and key services providing vital provisions for those with complex needs in the city.

During the coming months the members of the Our Space cohort will be mentored by The Young Foundation, a charity committed to developing better connected and stronger communitie­s across the UK, which will support them to implement their “growth and replicatio­n processes” and maximise social impact.

The cohort will also work with CoCreating Change evaluator Susanne Burns to share the work and its results with the wider Co Creating Change network.

Victoria Whelan, engagement and learning manager at Theatre Royal Plymouth, said: “Being successful in this bid is testament to our commitment to co-creation and our work in partnershi­p with services across

Plymouth. This approach provides a platform for everyone who wants to, to access drama sessions, and tell their story.

“We’re excited about this next phase of our work which will see us replicate the Our Space programme in four hubs in the community.

“We’re particular­ly excited that all sessions will be supported and developed by people with lived experience of the services where we’ll be working.”

Other successful commission­s include, A Place for Co-Creation with Restoke, Cultural Spaces Responses to Homelessne­ss with Arts and Homeless Internatio­nal, Making Together with We Can Make, and Our Culture with Rising Arts Agency.

 ?? Erin Black ?? The Messenger statue, wearing a face mask, outside Theatre Royal Plymouth
Erin Black The Messenger statue, wearing a face mask, outside Theatre Royal Plymouth

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