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Project information

The Connections Programme

Engaging creatively with Cornish communities through event and adventure.

Our community engagement and access scheme - the Connections Programme - runs alongside summer seasons of world-class, award-winning, shows in our glorious theatre tent the Asylum.

June 2012 - September 2012

Charity information: Kneehigh

Kneehigh logo
  • Need


    We passionately believe that theatre has the power to transform; that it can help us to imagine, console, inspire, understand, engage, entertain and feel part of a community.

    And yet, certain groups are unable to engage due to cultural, social or financial barriers. This lack of access to theatre is a particular problem in our home county of Cornwall, with a recognised lack of cultural facilities and a struggling economy that is significantly below the EU average.


    Reaching out to people that do not necessarily think of themselves as theatregoers and offering direct engagement.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Breaking down the cultural, social and financial barrier to arts attendance in Cornwall.


    » Events: these brilliant introductions take place within communities, led by core Kneehigh artists such as writers, directors, designers and performers
    » Workshops: these take place at the Asylum and in 2011 ranged from writing to dancing to den building to baking to kite flying.
    » An 'almost free' ticket scheme: the keystone of the Connections Programme - welcoming groups and individuals to see a show at our glorious Asylum.

    What success will look like

    We will know that the Connections Programme is breaking down these barriers if people want to be involved, and develop their relationship with Kneehigh and the arts in Cornwall.

  • Impact


    We want participants to be more likely to attend the theatre, and engage with the arts, again. We want participants to develop a greater sense of being part of their community. Most importantly, we want participants to be involved in future years, and let us help to break down their barriers to arts attendance.

    We will give our participants a voice and share the resultant data and its analysis with strategic partners for the benefit of the region.


    It is at the core of Kneehigh’s ambitions that Kneehigh remains at the heart of local communities.

    We piloted the Connections Programme in 2010, ran it again in 2011, and are confident that we will be able to develop and refine the scheme in the coming years.

    There may be the risk that - without adequate funding - we will not be able to fulfill all areas of the Connections Programme, but we are working hard to ensure a full, comprehensive scheme.


    At the end of the summer's Asylum season, and the conclusion of the Connections Programme, we will e-mail a report - including photos and videos - to our funders.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £39,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £15,500 Events Artist-led events within commnities.
      £6,000 Workshops Workshops ranging from writing to baking, den building to dancing.
      £18,000 'Almost free' tickets Providing 'almost free' tickets for up to 1,000 people.
  • Background


    Our glorious theatre tent the Asylum was launched in 2010, and enables us to deliver this comprehensive community engagement and access scheme.

    During summer seasons (July/August), the Asylum is located near Blackwater in Cornwall.


    We are working with a variety of government, voluntary, community and social organisations across Cornwall to identify those groups and communities who would most benefit from participating in the Connections Programme.

    Based on these partnerships, audience research and our past experience, we will 'target' the Connections Programme to reach-out to specific groups. These will include young people, residents of deprived geographical areas, social welfare groups and previous participants.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Kneehigh has a proud tradition of community engagement, whether through re-animating local festivals like Mazey Day, working with Tibetan monks fleeing Chinese rule or engaging young mums from West Penwith.

    As a world-class producing company – with an experienced team of artists, producers and managers – we are uniquely placed to deliver a programme of work that will generate a step change for ourselves, the Cornish cultural landscape and beyond.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mike Shepherd

    Mike is an actor, teacher and director. He founded Kneehigh in 1980 and has worked for the company ever since. He will lead the Connections Programme.

    Anna Maria Murphy

    Anna is a long-term member of Kneehigh, latterly as a writer of 'Tristan & Yseult', 'The Red Shoes' and 'Midnight's Pumpkin'.

    Emma Rice

    Emma is the Joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh, and has directed our award-winning shows, including 'Brief Encounter' and 'The Wild Bride'.

I came with some people who have learning difficulties... they loved the whole evening. They definitely want to go again.