Young people helped to make their voice heard through theatre

Over 2,000 young people in a north London borough will be helped to build their confidence and immerse themselves in the arts, thanks to new funding for an award-winning theatre.

Kiln Theatre will run drama workshops offering young people – including refugees and asylum seekers – the chance to take part in projects including workshops, career skills development and performing and taking backstage roles in productions at its 292-seat theatre in Kilburn High Road, when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

Meanwhile, a series of playwriting courses will enable aspiring young writers to learn and develop their craft.

The projects, which will work with young people from across the London Borough of Brent, is funded by a £246,000 grant over five years from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

City of London Corporation City Bridge Trust Committee Chairman Dhruv Patel, said:

“Theatre is sometimes seen as an activity for a privileged few, and young people from less well-off backgrounds may have never even considered visiting a theatre, let alone writing a play or getting on stage.

“Kiln Theatre does an incredible job in breaking down those barriers to bring in young people from incredibly diverse backgrounds, fuelling their creativity and broadening their horizons as to what they can achieve in life.”

Recently named best London theatre in The Stage awards, the theatre can trace its roots back to 1980 and, following a major refurbishment in 2018, also boasts a cinema and three rehearsal spaces.

The City Bridge Trust funding will also see 1,000 free theatre tickets allocated to school pupils from across the borough, many of whom will be experiencing live theatre for the first time, when Covid restrictions allow.

Kiln Theatre artistic director Indhu Rubasingham said:

“We are constantly inspired by the power and creativity the young people we engage with have within them. They are the lifeblood of our organisation and the future of our industry and we want to make sure they have a place to be heard, in their own words.”

More information on Kiln Theatre is online at www.kilntheatre.com

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case studies: ‘I feel utterly inspired’

Youth Theatre Participant Ciara, aged 16, said: “Before, I wanted to be more confident – if we were going to do a show or something because I would be kind of shy or embarrassed if I did something wrong, but then I learned how to improvise and how to be a bit more confident.”

Minding the Gap Participant Mahmood, 12, said: “Thank you very much to the teachers at Kiln Theatre for all the beautiful and funny moments we have spent together. Thank you for being so kind to me and for all the beautiful things you addressed to me and taught me. Thank you for teaching me to work in a team.”

Young Writer Participant Andina, 18, said: “This the first time I have really written anything, and I feel utterly inspired to carry on.”

Picture captions

Kiln 1 – Kiln Theatre’s Young Company participants perform as part of Mapping Brent Festival 2019

Kiln 2 – Participants take part in a Kiln Theatre Minding the Gap workshop – 2019

Kiln 3 – 2018 performance of Kiln Theatre’s Minding the Gap participants

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, has allocated £15.5 million to the London Community Response, set up to help charities deal with the impact of coronavirus, and has also given over £1.7 million in one-off grants to 202 organisations it already supports to help them offset lost income resulting from the pandemic.

The London Community Response Fund is administered by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge House Estates and Members of its Court of Common Council form the City Bridge Trust Committee, responsible for taking grant and funding decisions for the charity.

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk