Social Impact at The Theatre has a clear aim: to use the power of creativity to enrich lives. This is central to our purpose and at the core of everything we do.
The Take Part department at the Theatre is at the forefront of our Social Impact work, from the provision of creative workshops to food vouchers and everything in between. Our Social Impact work is rooted in our Chipping Norton neighbourhood and reaches out further into our district - 56% of our free opportunities are taken up by those living outside of Chipping Norton.
The Story of Social Impact at The Theatre
The best way to understand the social impact of The Theatre is to hear from our community. This video gives voice to those who take part in all aspects of The Theatre's community work, as members of our team tell you the amazing stories of our work...
Social Impact at The Theatre can be divided into three core areas: resilience, confidence and accessibility.
The Theatre provides a place to be physically and creatively safe, both within our own building and with our partner organisations in the community.
- Free Lunch & Cultural Programme – begun during the pandemic in 2020, every holiday The Theatre offers support to families with low incomes who qualify for Free School Meals. What started as free lunch bags has now grown to fortnightly Aldi vouchers, as well arts & crafts workshops, take home craft packs and free films for local families.
- Mental Health Support – The Theatre run weekly drama and mental health workshops for young people on the mental health waiting list or identified as needing help by their teachers; these workshops are also backed up with art activity packs designed to help mental health. We also strive to support the parents of young people with mental health struggles with a monthly support group. We also offer an Anti-Bullying Programme for schools in response to the needs of our local schools.
- Care Home Partnerships – The Theatre provide regular dementia-friendly reminiscence sessions for residents of West Oxfordshire care homes, and also run the Memory Lanes project, an intergenerational programme with a local care home and local school to bring generations together to tell their stories.
- Holiday Activities – every summer The Theatre runs Holiday Activities and Food programmes for young people aged 7-14 who are eligible for free school meals. Children are able to come to The Theatre to learn theatre craft, find out about working backstage or create a Play In A Week, an environment where they are safe and fed.
The Theatre strives to use creativity and expression to help individuals grow their confidence in themselves, and in participating in the arts.
- Young People – we have eleven Youth Theatre groups and three Youth Musical Theatre groups from ages 5-18 that come together weekly, building their skills and confidence ahead of their annual showcase on The Theatre’s professional stage.
- Classes for those with additional needs – Youth Theatre Open is a weekly inclusive drama group for young people with additional needs or who need extra support, to help them grow in confidence through drama in a safe environment. Great Company is our weekly drama group for adults with learning disabilities, where they can come and express themselves creatively.
- Adult classes – confidence and expression should not limited to children and young people! We therefore have a thriving range of adult courses, from Creative Writing to Adult Drama. We hold dance classes for over 50s, run a community choir who meet and perform regularly and also deliver Can Sing singing lessons to those who love to sing but are less confident to do so in public.
- Community tickets – we provide free tickets to performances at The Theatre to targeted groups who we know may not usually feel confident attending The Theatre, such as: low income families, Ukrainian refugees, our local traveller community, Children Heard & Seen, those with low mood or mental health needs.
- Relaxed Performances and Cinema Bambino – in order that people can feel truly confident attending a performance we have Relaxed Performances and Cinema Bambino. During Relaxed Performances the lights are on and noise and disruption from the audience is allowed, so anyone who is intimidated by a formal theatre experience can attend in comfort and confidence. Cinema Bambino allows new parents to connect with others and visit the cinema, to not feel they are missing out on art and film.
The Theatre provides arts and support at the level it’s needed, no matter the needs and challenges of those we support.
- Outreach pop up events – our Outreach team go to where the need is, whether that is creating workshops within schools, organising a play day in a local suburb or providing activities at local fetes and events.
- Pick A Price – our Pick A Price scheme aims to ensure access to the arts regardless of income level. People can choose to see certain shows for £5, while others can “pay it forward” if they can afford to.
- Bursaries - a third of our year-round youth provision is accessible free of charge via our Tony & Judith Yarrow Bursary Scheme.
- Free carer tickets – carers are able to have a free ticket to accompany someone to a ticketed event, to make sure that no one misses out on the arts they want to engage with.
- Assisted listening – we have a hearing loop system so those who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to enjoy our film and theatre offering.
- Break out space – we have a break out space for anyone who needs a relaxed, sensory space when feeling overwhelmed or struggling with the Theatre building experience. We also have Fidget Muffs available for those with autism or dementia who can benefit from tactile fidgeting.
We know the life-changing impact getting involved in the arts can have. We also know the arts can be hard to access. Our aim is to break down barriers, and get everyone – young people, families, elders, schools, youth groups and more – involved in the life of The Theatre.
How you can support our Social Impact work
Donations to The Theatre are all a part of making our Social Impact work possible – you can donate from as little as £5 here. If you are interested in providing a larger donation to provide a bursary or help with any of our Social Impact projects specifically, please contact our fundraising department. Thank you!