SPID Theatre Company received a grant of £5,000 from the Theatres Protection Fund London Small Theatres Grants Scheme in 2016.
SPID had been running a popular program of free drama workshops for local teenagers in the theatre at the heart of Kensal House council estate. These workshops culminated in free productions for estate residents. However, the theatre’s run-down facilities had long limited their use. In a survey, 8 out of 10 local residents said they wanted the theatre improved. The faulty doors, cold windows and lack of disabled access were the most common issues cited. Our grant enabled SPID to make improvements to their building to address these issues. This included a volunteer day when young local residents helped to paint the walls, pictured above.
The improved theatre brings young people together with their neighbours and gives them the opportunity to improve their technical, design and performance skills. They can create shows with full production values, challenging the negative way in which they often feel stereotyped and giving them the chance to show themselves in a positive light. Since the theatre has been refurbished the average workshop session size has increased by 20% and the theatre generates additional income through increased hires.
"We're really pleased that improving our council estate theatre has helped us raise the profile of social housing and champion our community work." Helena Thompson, Artistic Director, SPID Theatre Company
Image: SPID Theatre Company