Mandala Theatre Company is starting research and development for a new performance thanks to being awarded almost £10,000 by the National Lottery Community Fund.
The leading diverse touring theatre company won support from the National Lottery to write a challenging new play about the danger to young people from school exclusion leading them down a path to prison.
The cash will be used to create workshops run by professional arts leaders for young people, predominately from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) and White lower socio-economic backgrounds and those who are ‘Looked After’. They will use story-telling, drama and creative writing to respond to the impact of race, culture and identity on their educational experience and school exclusion.
“Their work will form the basis for a new professional play exploring the ‘Exclusion to Prison Pipeline’ and Rehearsed Readings will be presented back to them for input into the final script”, commented Mandala’s Artistic Director Yasmin Sidhwa. “Many of these young people have never or rarely been to a theatre and this award by the Community Fund supports the national drive for the arts to reach and engage a wider diversity of people.”
“This challenging new play is the final part of Mandala’s trilogy: Place, Identity and Belonging. Work developed through creative workshops with young people exploring their sense of connection – or otherwise – with the communities where they have grown up”, added Sidhwa.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see over 70 young people from Oxfordshire take part in more than 50 hours of creative workshops in the first phase of the project.
Part of the funding will also go towards supporting Mandala Young Company, creating the opportunity for young people to take part in theatre performances in Oxford and the International Youth Theatre Festival in Grenoble as part of the city’s 30+ year twinning.