Cherwell Theatre Company (CTC) have launched four new weekly arts workshops across Banbury this month, with support from Cherwell District Council, The Ragdoll Foundation, Bouttell Bequest and Oxfordshire Community Foundation.
The new ‘Amplify’ programme enhances CTC’s commitment to raising up the voices and aspirations of the young people of Banbury regardless of their backgrounds or differences through a weekly on-going participatory programme of creative workshops that seeks to overcome the barriers that groups of local young people face in accessing CTC projects.
The youth focused charity, as recent winners of the 2022 Cherwell Business Award for Charity and Community giving, were thrilled to be recognised for their extensive community work - promoting inclusivity and opportunities for many young people across the Cherwell District.
“Though we’ve had weekly drama workshops running at Banbury College every Monday for many years, ‘Amplify’ takes place in community settings across Banbury” said Nicki Stevenson, CTC’s Outreach Director and joint CEO, who has designed and developed the project. “This will help CTC to reach those young people who are currently missing out”.
Free weekly sessions for ages 8+ will take place at Banbury Mosque on Thursdays and Saturdays, at The Hill Community Centre on Thursdays and at Let’s Play Project in Twyford on Saturdays.
A variety of different art forms will be explored with each group from visual art to devised theatre, poetry and dance. Members of each community are welcome to attend, with no prior experience necessary.
“It feels amazing to build upon pilot work we’ve undertaken with our brilliant community partners over the past couple of years” says Ms Stevenson “diversity and inclusion are not elements of our work we feel can be ‘added on’ as after thoughts. They are key principles to making what CTC offer more relevant and engaging for everyone.”
‘The opportunity the Amplify Project gives our young people is invaluable!’ says Tracey Owen, Operations Manager at Let’s Play Project who previously partnered with CTC on a number of community projects and initiatives including the ‘Tell Your Story Festival’ and the ‘Reconnect and Reimagine’ programme. ‘It's amazing to watch our young people’s confidence grow week by week as they learn new skills with the support from the wonderful staff at Cherwell Theatre Company and the Let's Play team.
Bobbie South, Youth worker at The Hill, also plays an active role in delivering the weekly Amplify classes at the Bretch Hill Community Centre alongside CTC facilitators. ‘I am really pleased that the Hill are working with Cherwell Theatre Company again, as I really enjoy watching young people explore and grow together. I can’t wait to see what happens next’.
As part of the Amplify programme, Banbury Mosque are offering free, visual art classes to complement their existing Math, Science and English lessons. The Mosque, which also provides The Community Fridge and Community Library services, offers young people a welcome space to learn, grow and express themselves.
‘As well as being a place of worship, the Mosque is a community hub for all, including young people and their families. We are really excited to introduce this new, creative opportunity to our young community and give them the tools and support to explore, create and appreciate different art forms’ says Yasmin Kaduji of the Banbury Mosque.
Participation on the Amplify programme is free of charge. The groups run on a weekly basis on the following days:
The Hill Community Centre: Thursdays 4.00pm-5.30pm
Let's Play Project: Saturdays 10.00am-11.30am
Banbury Mosque: Thursdays 4.45pm-5.45pm (girls group), Thursday 6.00pm-7.00pm (boys group), Saturday 11.00am-12.00pm (Key stage 1 and 2 groups)
For more information, please contact email@example.com