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Project information

Broadening access to Soho Young Company (SYC)

Soho Young Company is Soho Theatre’s acclaimed youth theatre, offering a year-round arts education programme. We want to expand its reach, targeting young people aged 14-26 who have little experience of the arts, working with young people in Brent, Waltham Forest and Westminster.

January 2015 - September 2015

Charity information: Soho Theatre Company

Soho Theatre Company logo
  • Need


    London is one of the world’s cultural capitals, but many young Londoners have little real engagement with the arts. This is correlated with economic disadvantage. The London Boroughs of Westminster and Brent are home to many families who suffer from over-crowding and low incomes. Waltham Forest was ranked the 15th most deprived Borough in England in 2010. Participation in the arts has many benefits, enabling participants to learn new skills, gain confidence and access new opportunities.


    We will proactively reach out to young people in different communities across London, and offer a range of activities at Soho Theatre. We will also partner with local organisations to engage young people with little experience of the arts, bringing Soho Young Company into their neighbourhood and making it easier for them to participate in these activities on their doorstep. We offer high-quality courses by expert workshop leaders, and opportunities for a long-term engagement with the arts.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To engage young people in the arts by developing their writing, devising and performing skills.


    » Providing a year long scheme of workshops in new writing, theatre, comedy and cabaret as well as writing competitions and other opportunities.

    What success will look like

    We will run termly events to showcase the participants' work and their progress. All of the Writers' Labs participants will submit for the Soho Young Writers Award competition.

    Aim 2

    To expand SYC activities at Soho Theatre and in Westminster, Brent and Waltham Forest.


    » SYC workshops will increase from 7 (4 Writers Labs and 3 Comedy Labs) to 9 (a new Theatre Lab and an offsite programme for younger people).
    » We will also expand our outreach provision in local community venues in Brent, Waltham Forest and Westminster for young people aged 14-18.
    » We will recruit young people who have not had previous experience of attending Soho workshops by working with youth workers and community leaders.

    What success will look like

    We will recruit and fill places for old and new workshops and work with new participants who have little experience of the performing arts who live in disadvantaged areas.

    Aim 3

    To develop participants' communication, confidence, language, teamwork and critical thinking skills.


    » Participants develop these skills as a result of the training provided by the workshop leaders and teachers and by undergoing the workshop programme.

    What success will look like

    Participants will develop new work for our stages. We will monitor their progress with termly evaluation forms, working with independent arts evaluator Dr Jessica Mordsley.

    Aim 4

    To work with and mentor participants who want to develop their comedy to a professional level.


    » We will launch a new scheme for participants who want additional coaching - open to those graduated from the SYC and young industry professionals.
    » We will employ leading comedy professionals to coach this group helping to bring their work to the stage.

    What success will look like

    We will help develop these participants' work for the stage. We will offer them opportunities to perform on our stages and will introduce them to other industry leaders.

  • Impact


    Long term changes include:
    - A greater number of young people engaged with the arts
    - Provision of theatre workshops in economically disadvantaged areas in Brent, Westminster and Waltham Forest
    - A new professional training course for young comedy professionals
    - New work for our stages

    We will demonstrate this success by:
    - Numbers of young people we work with
    - Reach of the new outreach programme
    - High quality of the work produced and the experience for the participants


    Risks include:
    - Drop out rates: If participants drop out of the courses mid way through the year
    - Financial: if we are unable to raise the money for the full cost of the courses.

    - Course fees are paid in September to encourage continued attendance. We will offer more bursaries too to ensure diversity. Popularity of the courses is high, with a long waiting list.
    - We are fundraising for this important programme from a range of trusts, foundations and individuals.


    We will work with professional arts evaluator Dr Jessica Mordsley to evaluate the SYC. We will send updates on showcases and events during the year and send a full report after activity has finished. Donors will be invited to showcases so that they can see the work the participants have produced.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £4,345 Soho Young Theatremakers Weekly theatre making workshops at Soho Theatre
      £2,757 Outreach at Granville Weekly theatre making workshops at Granville Community Arts Centre
      £8,552 Intensive Outreach courses Intensive short courses in Brent, Waltham Forest and Westminster
      £4,346 Comedy workshops New workshop group, expanding on successful model
  • Background


    The project will take place in the London Boroughs of Brent, Waltham Forest and Westminster. The venue for all activities in Westminster will be Soho Theatre, and Granville Community Arts Centre for activities based in Brent. We are currently talking to potential venue partners in Waltham Forest.


    Young people from the London Boroughs of Brent, Waltham Forest and Westminster, and others within easy reach of the venues. Young people with little previous experience of the arts, and those who feel excluded from arts and culture.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Soho Theatre already runs an acclaimed, high quality arts education programme, Soho Young Company. Our courses are run by professional performers and are independently evaluated. Our audience is younger and more diverse than other theatres, with a programme and brand that appeals to younger people. Comedy, in particular, is an accessible art form with wide appeal. These factors make us ideally placed to reach out to young people who feel excluded from the arts.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Steve Marmion

    Steve is Artistic Director of Soho Theatre. He started his professional career in youth theatre and is committed to widening access to the arts.

    Rebecca Gould

    Rebecca is the Creative Producer at Soho Theatre, with extensive experience in devising and running arts education projects.

    Jules Haworth

    Jules is the Administrator for this project. She is a very experienced member of Soho Theatre's team.

    Lee Griffiths

    Lee is a professional comedian, and works as both a solo performer and with a sketch group. He is also a skilled and experienced workshop leader.