Project information

The Woodberry Down Community Play

The project will provide the opportunity for young people and adult volunteers living in one of the most deprived areas of London to participate in free drama activities, developing skills and confidence. It will culminate in a performance to celebrate the past present and future of Woodberry Down.

January 2014 - July 2014

Charity information: Immediate Theatre

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  • Need


    Woodberry Down has long been an area of high deprivation and until regeneration started, provided 2,500 homes for to some of the poorest families in Britain. There were problems with gang violence and drug dealing which led to the closure of the local youth club. Recent regeneration has created many new luxury flats for both private and social tenants and a new youth club but many families are still stuck in poverty with little access to positive activities and the opportunity to develop.


    Immediate Theatre’s vision is to ensure access for all to arts activities that break down barriers and engage people in debate. This project will create a performance reflecting on the past, sharing current realities and looking forward to a positive future for all. It will give local people the opportunity to build skills and confidence and to celebrate the place where they live. It will bring people into the new facilities and unite established and new residents and different generations.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    • To create and perform a show for local residents of the Woodberry Down Estate in July 2014,


    » • Provide weekly drama workshops for young people (8-16yrs), from Jan 2014, engaging at least 25 young people in creating a new play about the area,
    » • Work with professional theatre makers, peer facilitators and local volunteers to create a script, set and costumes and stage the performance,

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by the number of participants and audience; everyone will be invited to evaluate the experience. We will summarize achievements in a written report.

    Aim 2

    • To foster a sense of belonging in an area which has experienced dramatic change in the past 10 yrs


    » Enable young participants to engage with older people exploring their experience of living in the area and the history of the place where they live,
    » Create partnerships with local schools and other organisations, offering recruitment taster sessions and identifying a venue for the performance

    What success will look like

    Success will mean sustained partnership work with at least 4 local organisations and on-going initiatives which bring the community together.

  • Impact


    The project will unite the local community providing a positive focus for people of different backgrounds. By linking with an annual event hosted by the Manor House Trust we hope that this will have a lasting impact. We intend to sustain our weekly youth theatre and build on the confidence and skills of the group. Success will mean increased membership of the youth theatres, the continuing involvement of at least 4 volunteers and on-going intergenerational work.


    Success is dependent on sustaining the involvement of several different groups and ensuring that no one feels excluded; this will require partnership work and detailed planning. We will use our experience of intergenerational work to ensure that older people feel safe to contribute; we already have youth theatre in the area and will use our peer facilitators to include those with complex life issues. Key to the success will be attracting a big audience this requires a robust marketing strategy.


    We will create 3 reports to keep donors as well as participants updated with progress. These will be shared through our website and e-newsletter. A final report celebrating the achievements through photographs, written reports and case studies of the project will be created by September 2014.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £25,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Coordination Developing partnerships and volunteers
      £5,700 Lead Artists Director and Designer of the production
      £2,000 Materials Set, costumes, equipment and transport.
      £5,500 Delivery staff Youth/Drama workers and peer facilitators
      £3,800 Marketing/Admin Project management, admin and marketing
      £3,000 Overheads Insurance, rent, finances etc

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    London Borough of Hackney £5,000 Guaranteed
    London Borough of Hackney £2,500 Conditional
  • Background


    The Woodberry Down estate in Hackney was until recently 57 blocks of flats with an array of structural and social problems. Regeneration has been a slow and disruptive process: families waiting to be rehoused; loss of community cohesion; tensions created by luxury housing next to neighbourhoods rated as amongst the poorest in the country. The new Youth Hub will host rehearsals, volunteers will be engaged through the new community centre and we plan to perform in the Academy school.


    The area still houses some of the poorest families in Britain with high levels of unemployment and poor health. The majority of beneficiaries will be young participants and their families. It is also vital that other groups benefit from the work, for example: older residents many of whom are nervous of local youth , unemployed residents who want to gain confidence and new residents who will have the opportunity to find out about the history of the area and engage with the community.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Immediate Theatre has been delivering high quality community theatre in Hackney for 16 years; we were first contracted by the regeneration team to engage young people in the process of change in Woodberry Down in 2001. Due to the lack of youth and intergenerational work in area we stayed. We were at the heart of the Well London project using arts to stimulate healthy activities. Our weekly drama sessions are amongst the busiest at the new Youth Hub and we have strong partnerships in the area.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jo Carter - Artisitic Director, Immediate Theatre

    Jo set up the company in 1996 and has led intergenerational work in the area. She will act as Partnership and volunteer coordinator.

    Tony Gouveia - Associate Director, Immediate Theatre

    Tony led the Well London project in 2011 involving a range of local artists. He will devise and direct the production

    Charmain Humphrey - Participation Officer, Immediate Theatre

    Charmain has worked for the company for 13 years. She will support young people with challenging lives to participate and support famiy volunteers.

    The Peer Facilitators - Immediate Theatre

    We will be engaging our new Peer Facilitators in September 2013 who will work with us for 12 months providing positive role models for participants.

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