We welcome many visitors to Nottingham Playhouse through our doors each evening – in time for a main stage performance and perhaps a drink beforehand, but on a Monday afternoon the theatre plays host to something quite different.
The In House project provides a series of workshops that give local vulnerable and disadvantaged adults the opportunity to engage with the theatre and performing arts, often for the very first time. The project, which is supported by the generosity of the public; gives people the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of all aspects of the performing arts but, helps to build confidence and improves overall wellbeing.
Fiona Buffini who leads the group explained:
“It doesn’t matter if they’re good or if they’ve done anything like this before, there’s no such thing as a good or bad idea – all I ask is that they say yes, that they get involved. For the people that do, the effect can be profound. We’ve focused on the Tempest this term; taking it and making it our own, working together to think about the characters and themes and how to portray them.
At the end of the term, we will share it with an audience of family and friends. The performance is a huge step for some, putting participants a long way out of their comfort zone. But it’s so fantastic when people do overcome those personal barriers and feel the excitement and the pride of having done something they never thought they could.
We work with people who have all sorts of things going on in their lives, from experience of homelessness, substance misuse, difficult family situations or mental health problems. No-one is obliged to talk about it, they can leave them at the door and focus on what we’re doing. This is a social, supportive and creative space where they can feel comfortable so that everyone is able to express themselves. In some cases this is the experience they have each week of social interaction or even just getting out of the house. For some it is a first step towards re-engaging with their community and other people within it – it can really be life changing.”
For Anthony, who has only missed a few sessions since the project began and has personal experience of street homelessness – In House is one of very few opportunities to socialise:
“The first time I came I wouldn’t have said ‘boo’ to a goose. I think I would now, I’ve gotten more confident in myself”
And for Jo, who had never been involved in something like this before, the sessions provide some well needed space:
“There’s a lot going on for me in my life but this gives me an escape. It’s really good for confidence and for some people it’s what gets them out the house – when you’re feeling low or down you can be really isolated and this is a big boost. Like for me today, I didn’t want to do anything and wasn’t sure I felt like this but once we got started I got into it. In House gives me a real lift.”
In House isn’t the only way in which your support makes a difference at Nottingham Playhouse. The Nottingham Playhouse 50:50 Appeal provides free tickets to local people for whom a trip to the theatre would not ordinarily be possible, helping to ensure that we remain accessible to as many different people as possible. It costs just £8 to provide one ticket. To find out more or donate click here