Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and now the cost of living crisis, CTC has continued to build upon our engagement with communities and increased the resilience of our charity over the last 12 months. We reached 9,591 people as direct participants and audience members, surpassing our target of 8,000.
We continued to work outdoors with young people wherever possible and continued to offer online opportunities such as one to one mentorship and live streamed performances alongside face to face work. Our model for creating outside performances continues to remove barriers for communities. This has helped Oxfordshire residents engage with spaces rich in nature on their doorsteps, and we’ve welcomed diverse new audiences with performances in parks, marketplaces, even a gig venue and an open-air swimming pool!
As a direct result of our increased programme, our number of weekly workshop participants has increased by over 50%. We have also expanded our holiday workshop offer for primary age children. Over 50% of participants of half term workshops attended on a bursary basis, with lunch provided.
CTC has also vastly expanded our workforce working with 101 artists of diverse disciplines across the year, partnering with 23 organisations and 113 schools. We delivered 437 workshops and 86 rehearsal days across our packed project programme and delivered 163 performances or screenings of artistic work.
We worked significantly in Northamptonshire as well as Oxfordshire for the first time, through new partnerships with Royal & Derngate Theatres, Northants Cultural Education Partnership and others and have been able to provide new experiences for young people beyond anything previously achieved. Through touring small productions to theatres outside of our region for the first time we have also been able to entertain audiences from Taunton to Harrogate!
Key Projects in the last 12 months have included:
‘Do You Accept’ our E Safety project received digital tours of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire Primary Schools, with online workshops attached. It has now been seen by just under 3,000 people, engaging 48 schools and 2,593 children this year alone through 60 workshops. We plan to continue to develop this digital project and roll it out further in 2023.
Last December, we worked with ‘Safeguarding Children in Banbury’ to create a forum theatre workshop exploring substance misuse for year 6 children. The workshops were delivered to 458 children across 12 Banbury Schools and we are currently delivering another 20 workshops in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2022.
We delivered our ‘Park Ranger’ environmental arts programme in green spaces in the Autumn and Spring terms, engaging 716 children in musical storytelling, creative writing and forest school activities.
Reconnect and Reimagine was another continuing project developed with our partners at Activate Learning and included drama workshops with Style Acre (a group for adults with learning disabilities), Let's Play Project (young people with additional needs), CTC’s 17-25s group, Frank Wise School, Response Mental Health Charity and Fairholme House care home, engaging 94 participants in arts based workshops. We are currently exploring new partnerships alongside our existing ones to expand this programme in 2023 and increase our reach.
Sam & Zoe Vs Evermore, an interactive game theatre play was developed with young people, Activate Learning students and produced with a professional creative team from February-April. The story explored young men’s mental health through Dungeons and Dragons style role play. We toured schools, community settings and theatres engaging 382 participants and 1,438 audience members. We plan to tour the work further in 2023.
In April, we finally produced ‘The Changing Room’, an exciting site specific project first developed in 2019, which saw our young people create a musical immersive theatre piece exploring transition at Banbury’s open air swimming pool. The project engaged 281 participants in total and we led audiences of 96 people around Woodgreen Leisure Centre and its outdoor areas on a gloriously sunny day!
In August we produced a passion project of our Youth Steering Board, ‘The Mutineers’, a pirate themed play created by one of our young participants through our professional mentorship programme during COVID-19. The pirate themed play was inspired by and performed in the dry-dock of Tooley’s Historic Boatyard, Banbury, continuing the ‘water theme’. 78 young people took part in the play’s in development and performance with audiences of over 300 people attending.
Song of the Summer, our biggest most multi faceted project to date took place between March-August 2022. This new ‘gig theatre experience’ developed with young musicians and actors (over 6 years!) was co-produced with Royal & Derngate Theatres Northampton. By far the largest outreach project CTC has delivered, 234 young people collaborated with professional artists over six months to create and perform a new musical play in a unique, immersive setting, The Picturedrome Music Venue, Northampton. The filmed performance is available to watch on the Royal & Derngate website. Watch Here.
Following months of sustained outreach with community partners Banbury Mosque, Let’s Play Project and The Hill Centre, CTC have now established a permanent free, weekly creative and visual arts provision called Amplify and with additional funding and support from Activate Learning's Personal and Community Development Learning Scheme, we are thrilled to be able to reach more communities with an additional 4 partners onboarded for 2023.
Our partnership with Activate Learning has continued to grow and flourish, with many opportunities to work meaningfully with the creative industries department on collaborative projects. This partnership has also continued to increase our fundraising capacity, leading to an increase in outreach activities and in 2021/2022. We are now projected to reach over 10,000 people as direct participants and audience members in 2022/23.