Theatre Peckham puts students’ mental health centre stage

News Desk (15 January, 2021)

'The events of last year really highlighted why we do this and who we are doing this for'

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A Peckham-based theatre company has launched a new series of online learning programmes to boost the creativity of young people during the lockdown, writes Simon Throssell…

After 34 years of illuminating young artistic voices from Havil Street in Camberwell, TheatrePeckham whose alumni include actor John Boyega, were forced to close their doors due to the pandemic. Despite all these obstacles, they were able to continue to deliver their regular programmes by opening a new digital home while their physical venue was closed.

As the new year begins, the group have devised a series of 28 classes designed to add a creative lift to January and beyond. From Afrofusion dance to spoken word and even a special Rap X Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration, Artistic Director and CEO Suzann McLean is keen to highlight the power of theatre and the arts.

Speaking to the News, she said: “It’s vital that we keep the arts alive for children because they are life enhancing.

“Even though moving to digital isn’t necessarily the answer [for the future of theatre], we are committed to continue supporting the ambitions of children and young people during this anxious and uncertain time.”

In April 2020, more than 400 of the UK’s leading artists signed a letter calling on the government to support the country’s creative industries and venues like TheatrePeckham.

“It was bizarre to see that the arts were left off by the government because everyone else was doing it in their homes; whether that was painting, podcasting, writing or singing,” she added.

“The events of last year really highlighted why we do this and who we are doing this for; to provide skills and opportunities for 3-25 year olds to engage in the arts and grow their creative output.”

With support from funders, the group is able to give everyone the opportunity to take part creatively in their classes, particularly those families financially affected by the pandemic.

For more information, visit their website at www.theatrepeckham.co.uk and find them on Facebook: @theatrepeckham1

 

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