Theatre Royal Wakefield increasing creative opportunities for local young people following National Theatre award win

As the Theatre Royal Wakefield opens its brand-new Centre for Creativity, the spotlight is shining on this local theatre in recognition of its commitment to young people and increasing access for local people to experience, participate in and learn about theatre.

Theatre Royal Wakefield is currently working with the National Theatre on its Theatre Nation Partnership programme to broaden and increase audiences and increase arts engagement in Wakefield and were recipients of the National Theatre’s Jenny Harris Award 2017/18.

The Award is given in memory of Jenny Harris, the NT’s inspiring Head of Learning from 1990 to 2007, whose work focussed on helping young people learn through theatre, underpinned by a profound belief in the power of theatre to transform lives. The Award, now in its third year, is awarded to an exceptional project for young people or an exceptional young person and the winner is selected by the National Theatre Foundation.

Theatre Royal Wakefield received the National Theatre’s Jenny Harris Award 2017/18 and has used the funding to support its Performance Academy, a musical theatre programme for 7-18-year olds, which is aimed at developing young talent and widening participation. The Academy is run on the basis that there should be no barrier to participation and, with the support of the £10,000 funding from the award, the theatre has been able to extend its bursary scheme and target more young people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Theatre Royal Wakefield is also identifying opportunities to work with young refugees who are new to the area and offer them the opportunity to take part in Performance Academy.

Speaking about receiving the award Katie Town, Executive Director of Theatre Royal Wakefield said, “The whole team at Theatre Royal Wakefield believes in the value of the work that we do with children and young people and it is a fantastic endorsement of our efforts that National Theatre selected us to receive the prestigious Jenny Harris Award 2017/18. The funds have gone directly to supporting bursaries for young people to attend our performance academy and this means that we are able to offer a high-quality learning experience to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Our newly opened Centre for Creativity will serve to widen the opportunities that we are able to offer even further”

Alongside the Performance Academy, Wakefield’s local talent will continue to be nurtured through the theatre’s brand-new Centre for Creativity, a new home for developing young people, new artists and audiences. The space will offer opportunities for young people to engage with arts and culture in Wakefield and will also act as a regional hub for the National Theatre’s New Views playwriting programme for young people.

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the National Theatre said, “We are delighted that Theatre Royal Wakefield, one of our Theatre Nation partners, has had such an incredible year of success. They are worthy recipients of the Jenny Harris Award and we are proud to see the difference it has made to broadening opportunities for young people to take part in its Performance Academy during this past year. We are excited to see the success of their new Centre for Creativity that will ensure the amazing local talent, new artists and audiences will continue to be nurtured”.

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