Happy Birthday to Us!
Today Theatre Workout celebrates its 13th anniversary! We are officially a teenager and have come a long way from our humble beginnings all those years ago.
But, after working with 38 West End productions, well over 100,000 students in several thousand bespoke workshops, we think we've earned the right to be a little bit more rebellious!
Fear not, turning 13 won't be quite as bad as when Harry Enfield's "Kevin" turned 13, but we do plan to be more avant-garde in the way we engage and challenge students, and in the way Theatre Workout is run!
To mark our milestone anniversary we're launching our new Manifesto - a series of goals, pledges and ambitions for our future, and the way we lead our sector:
Make the West End more educational: Too many producers undervalue the benefits of engaging with schools and the education market. That has to change!
As the centre for education in London's West End, Theatre Workout will champion the education sector to producers and show them why they need to engage with the sector.
We've started a research project to prove the scale of the sector and the benefits to schools and shows in working together through Theatre Workout.
Enhancing Workshops: For the past two years we've developed all of our programmes with a focus on giving participants the confidence to play, create and perform beyond their expectations.
This is an ongoing process and we're creating new programmes all the time.
Investing in our team: We run regular training sessions with our team to share skills and develop best practice.
We're launching a fund to develop our team further through industry training outside Theatre Workout, bringing new experiences back to the team.
Working With Schools: Our research suggests up to 24,000 students see West End productions every week!
We already deliver educational workshops to over 8,000 students a year but we've clearly barely scratched the surface. We aim to double the number of school workshops we run within the next three years!
Creative Careers: In collaboration with the Creative Industries Federation we're preparing young people for their future careers in the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. At least 50% of actors quit within 5 years so something needs to be done to prepare the next generation.
Working with Groups: For years we've worked with leisure groups (family groups, stag and hen parties, work socials, theatre clubs and coach tours) and corporate clients (teambuilding events, conferences and training programmes) but we need to do more. Drama training isn't just for children so we plan to grow our business to deliver at least 200 such events a year within the next five years.
Working With Shows: Our mission has always been to work in collaboration with West End productions to enhance audiences theatre experience. If a show offers a school rate it should also be working with Theatre Workout to create and deliver its official education programme!
As we develop our 38th official workshop for Waitress, we not going to wait any more before creating exciting new show workshops rooted in West End productions. We invite all producers to join us and help inspire the next generation of theatre-goers and theatre-makers.
Unlike our government we do play well with others. Theatre is a team sport and only through collaboration can the creative industries grow. The industry has an obligation to engage with education, so come play and let's give audiences the best possible theatre experience.
Working With The Group Travel Trade:
A third of all visitors to the UK are youth and student travellers. We've recruited a global network of partners who believe in the work we do but sadly many more only see theatre as entertainment, not the valuable learning resource it can be.
We plan to educate the travel trade on the real benefits of engaging with drama to inspire young people, businesses and groups.
In 2018 we joined ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) and went to Shanghai with the European Commission. We plan to engage with more international markets in the years ahead, particularly the US and in Asia.
Working with the Creative Industries: Theatre Workout is a member of the Independent Theatre Council, Action for Children's Arts, the Creative Industries Federation, and Cultural Learning Alliance. We're also part of an ongoing conversation with representatives from the Birmingham Rep, National Theatre, London Theatre Consortium and others to discuss ways the industry can engage more with schools to plug the gap left by cuts in arts education and government funding.
We plan to collaborate, but also to lead wherever possible to bridge the gap between these two sectors.
Summer Schools & Youth Theatres: We're actively looking for school and theatre partners to create a network of youth theatre programmes for local communities. Over the next 13 years we aim to create Academies across the UK.
If you want to know more, discuss new ideas or work with us to play and create, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!