Project information

Free Youth Theatre

Our Free Youth Theatres provide a professional theatre experience for young people aged 8 - 21. Working in three groups (aged 8-11, 12-14 and 15-21), participants stage plays that help to develop key artistic and interpersonal skills and to build community cohesion.

This is an ongoing project

Charity information: Lewisham Youth Theatre

Lewisham Youth Theatre logo
  • Need


    A recent Youth Arts review undertaken by Lewisham Arts Service showed that the South of the Borough had a lack of Arts provision yet a high number of under 18s wanting to take part in arts activities. All our projects are over subscribed and stakeholders repeatedly request additional opportunities. 80% of our members live in wards that are in the top 20% on the index of multiple deprivations. A majority are from low-income families and many suffer from low self-esteem and low aspirations.


    LYT theatre projects help to build key skills including cofidence, communication, teamwork and emotional literacy. 50% of members are identified by Schools and Connexions Advisers as having low academic attainment & being at risk of exclusion due to poor social skills, low self-esteem & family breakdown. Members come from across Lewisham and projects help to create community cohesion between members from different areas.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Participants gain increased confidence & skills leading to improved well-being and life chances.


    » 150 annual drama sessions leading to increased social and emotional skills.
    » 3 sustained youth theatre projects culminating in full scale productions in a professional theatre.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Participants report and demonstrate improvement in social and emotional skills, confidence and well-being.

    Aim 2

    Improved expectations for the future and increased ambition to succeed in employment and education.


    » Mentoring and work experience opportunities provide skills and access to further education and training opportunities.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Participants re-engaging in positive activities after taking part in LYT, and demonstrate increased knowledge of pathways to education, employment & training.

    Aim 3

    Development of leadership skills & increased ability to contribute to community as active citizens


    » Members Committee provides central role for members to plan and manage youth theatre, gaining leadership skills and qualifications.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Participants taking on leadership roles in the youth theatre, gaining qualifications and taking responsibility for themselves and others in projects.

  • Impact


    LYT wants to make a difference in the lives of our participants. LYT demonstrates this success by evaluating each project and consulting with members, parents, teachers and former members to determine the long-term effects of the programme on our members. After 5 years, we plan to commission an evaluative report that collates this information into a logitudinal study of the impact of our work.


    LYT currently operates on project to project funding, where decisions on the scheduling and capacity of projects are made based on funding available rather than on the needs of the young people. Although each project evidences improvements in participant’s skills, personal development is not achieved through one 4-6 month project. Making a significant contribution to participant’s lives requires secure and ongoing programming. LYT is applying to several funders for long-term support.


    LYT publishes an annual report on our website and in hard copy that highlights the achievements of each project over the year. All LYT stakeholders are invited to our Annual General Meeting, where members present a review of the year. Project evaluations are available on request.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £53,665

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      Amount Heading Description
      £25,165 Salaries Staff salaries for delivery and administration
      £16,500 Salaries Freelance delivery fees, training and evaluation
      £6,000 Production Expenses Costumes, set, props, and theatre hire
      £6,000 Overheads Rent, administration, equipment, etc.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Children In Need £8,000 Guaranteed
    SJP Foundation £15,695 Guaranteed
    London Borough of Lewisham £5,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    London Borough of Lewisham


    Each year the project will reach 200 young people aged 8-21 from Lewisham, with 40% residing in the south of the borough, with a 60%-40% ratio of girls to boys. Participants reflect the diversity of the borough, with 70% coming from Black and Minority Ethnicity backgrounds. 75% of participants are referred as at-risk by schools or youth workers. Previous participants include homeless and looked after youth, those with learning difficulties and those Not in Education, Employment or Training.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    With over 24 years as a youth arts provider, LYT has a longstanding history of delivering projects on time and to budget. The core programme of three youth theatre age groups has been developed over 11 years of sustained youth theatre provision. Participants, parents, teachers and project partners consistently note the quality of LYT’s work. Performance projects are consistently over-subscribed and we maintain a retention rate of approximately 85% on each project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Helen Stanley

    Artistic Director

    Victoria Shaskan

    Company Manager

    Sheryl Malcolm

    Outreach & Participation Coordinator

    Jen Camillan

    Step-Up Project Coordinator

Senior Youth Theatre - 'Blood Wedding'

Senior Youth Theatre - 'Blood Wedding'

For me as a young person who was also in the care system, LYT was a life line. I truly believe I would not be where I am today without it.

Former Youth Theatre Member