the egg, Theatre Royal Bath

Arts Award Good Practice Centre 2014-15

the egg, Theatre Royal Bath is a children and young people’s theatre in Bath. They have been delivering Arts Award for over three years and offer it at all levels and in multiple art forms. Arts Award is used as a structure for a number of creative projects with schools and young people.
the egg believe that harnessing a young person’s creativity and pathway is integral to creating a meaningful and authentic experience for them. They aim to achieve this through offering Arts Award over a range of art forms. They ensure they can do this by mapping and using their in house creative team and skills when delivering Arts Award, as well as effectively partnering with other organisations and practitioners that have the creative practise that they don’t hold in their organisation.

Approach

Over the last year, the egg have developed their Gold and Silver Arts Award offer with funding from Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), their local Arts Council England Bridge organisation and their previous @theegg programme. The project has originated from three previous projects:

  • Young Company – an arts participatory project within school time structured around Bronze for young people who are at risk of exclusion from school
  • Urban Arts – a project for young people accessing the egg’s partnership organisations
  • @theegg – an opportunity for young people to perform and to use the egg as their space on Friday evenings.

the egg wanted to create a project that incorporated all aspects of these previous models and develop a more comprehensive programme of Arts Award delivery for young people.

They ran Gold Arts Award with Unit 2 (leadership of an arts project) as the structure over six months, with events to work towards as a collective. They weaved Unit 1 (personal arts development) through this structure with one to one progress reports and online liaison. This method enabled the egg to find out what the specific participant’s needs and desires were and informed the natural leadership routes for Unit 2.

For Gold Unit 1: Part A (extend own arts practice) participants had a follow up one-to-one session after their initial meeting to discuss their interests and pathways they wanted to explore. To achieve Unit 1: Part B (development opportunities within the wider arts sector) the participants worked with the egg to ensure they could gain wider opportunities through the theatre and other organisations. Through the planning and delivery of @theegg events, young people gained knowledge and understanding in how the building and its staff operated. Participants also accessed a wide range of other opportunities within arts organisations, through participatory projects including acting sessions with TV Insight for Young People, work experience in independent film productions, etc. For Unit 1: Part C (research advanced practitioners and review arts events) the participants had access to a range of arts practitioners throughout the building, visiting theatre companies, freelance artists and Arts Award Supporter organisations. the egg worked closely with other partners to create opportunities for their participants that they couldn’t offer. For example, one participant worked with a filmmaker from Create Studios to write and act in a short film and another took part in DJing sessions with an Arts Award adviser from Creative Youth Network to develop her skills. the egg offer young people tickets to any shows in their three theatres and have ticket exchange offers with Bristol Old Vic and Colston Hall. They ran a trip to an event in London and workshopped an evaluation of the event to inform their upcoming @theegg events in terms of logistics, communication, planning and marketing. For Unit 1: Part D (form and communicate a view on an arts issue), one of the
participants focused on the barriers of becoming a female DJ and the other concentrated on how actors are typecast.

Unit 2 (leadership of an arts project) was the main structure of the egg’s Gold Arts Award delivery and is embedded into their @theegg events programme. The young people produced several events with different themes that they had chosen,
relating to audience, marketing, artistic interest and local events. They met weekly after school to discuss their planning and objectives before each event. They created opportunities for young people to perform and/or to be the audience and looked at effective marketing strategies to bring in a large audience. They programmed friends to perform, but also booked and contracted some of the egg’s Emerging Artists. Some of the events that the young people ran were:

A film night, which they invited a group from ‘Mass Media’ Create Studios and Bath City College Film and Media students to attend. This has led to a partnership with Bath City College with its Film, Media and Theatre departments.

A Carnival event, which they invited Jamma De Samba to perform and asked one of the egg’s partner organisations, Mentoring Plus, to run a carnival make up stall. This was part of their participant’s Silver Arts Award.

Impact

All participants gained confidence, leadership skills, life skills, arts skills and experience through participating in this project. One of the Gold Arts Award participants gained a place at drama school and the other has been offered an apprenticeship as a direct result of this project.

Arts Award has been valuable in developing the egg’s own school relationships, offers and partnerships, creating measureable outcomes and strategies for their organisation. It has also helped them develop relationships and pool resources with a variety of arts and youth organisations.

One of the participants was interested in developing her skills as an actor from theatre into film. the egg developed opportunities for this to take place, but they didn’t achieve what the young person aimed for. Instead, the egg encouraged her to write, film and perform her own short. They organised for her to receive one to one mentoring from Arts Award adviser and Freelance Filmmaker, Sherylee Houssein, to achieve this. Through meeting every week and contact through a Facebook group, the egg were able to anticipate challenges (like this one) support young people in overcoming them and developing new opportunities.

Comments

‘For young people, I think what’s most important about Arts Award is that it gives freedom to carve their own path in their community, create their own opportunities and the time and space to explore their creativity.’

Jennifer Blackwood

Arts Award adviser, the egg

‘Arts Award demystifies the arts for some whilst formally recognising the discipline and passions of those young people who are naturally disposed towards the creative arts. Additionally, Arts Award adds gravitas to the activities undertaken by young people at the egg, and thus, to the egg itself.’

Kate Cross

Director, the egg, Theatre Royal Bath

‘I really enjoyed working with a professional female DJ. Not only was it great to learn from a professional due to their talent but it gave me an inspiration to achieve future career aspirations in DJing. It was also very rewarding holding successful events, introducing people to some diverse and brilliant art forms that they may not have seen before, including: spoken word and carnival.’

Abby Gray

Gold Arts Award participant