Visit to Theatre Peckham by the Middle Warden
After the Charity Committee awarded a grant to Theatre Peckham, I volunteered to deliver the cheque in person and to see the work the Charity is doing with and for the young in that area.
I opted to go at the start of the day and see the youngest group one Saturday morning. The Classes run each Saturday from 9am starting, with the under 5s and going on till 5.30 for those aged 12. There is a different schedule during the week.
They say on their website - "We inspire, delight and change the lives of the children and young people of Peckham and South London through the power of the Performing Arts." That is exactly what I experienced from the moment I arrived.
I got there a little before the start of the classes and so glad I did, as the first thing I noticed were the children arriving from all directions, hurrying along, many well ahead of the parent who was escorting them. It was perfectly obvious from the very beginning that they were excited and enthusiastic about getting to the venue. "I bet they are not like that on a Monday morning" - I thought.
All I had seen in the street was equally apparent when I observed both a ballet class and the musical theatre group singing and acting out the song. They were quite clearly having a lot fun and enjoying every moment.
The Charity was founded nearly 30 years ago and has worked with thousands of young people, producing an original musical theatre repertoire of professional work and giving children an unforgettable experience.It is supported by The Arts Council, Southwark Council, Trusts and Foundations and Individual and Corporate Supporters. But funds are hard to come by as they continue their work in both schools and their own fully equipped theatre.
They provide support and positive interventions into enabling their members to become part of the Theatre Peckham family, to find their unique voices and prepare them for fulfilling adult lives.They support thousands of young people from one of the most deprived areas of London – with very low levels of engagement with the arts, libraries, museums and galleries.
As I witnessed, Theatre Peckham is a much loved and highly accessible introduction to the performing arts. Some I was told go onto pursuing a career within the various avenues across the arts. For example, Technical Theatre, Costume design and Wardrobe, as well as writing acting dancing and singing.
They also support young people who have been within Theatre Peckham to gain places at University and/or Drama School as well as encourage others to find new avenues to explore their talents.
What I found very interesting is that they try very hard never to turn away a child because of financial hardship, and to this end they are always fundraising to ensure that they are an affordable extra activity on a child’s timetable and indeed in their life.
I was so pleased to have visited that Saturday morning to see and to experience for myself the fact that what they talk about on their website was, so clearly evident in the faces, the laughter and the enthusiasm of the children, the parents, the teachers and staff.I am equally pleased that we have supported them in some way with a small grant and I would love to think that we might be able to do so again in the future.
The Rev. Canon Bill Christianson FNI
Middle Warden & Chairman of the Charity Committee