A far-reaching community arts programme by Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre will inspire thousands over the next three years, putting Perth firmly on the map as a centre of excellence for community arts activities.

Horsecross Arts, the creative organisation behind Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre is relaunching its community arts programme following confirmation of a further three-year grant from Scottish charitable body, The Gannochy Trust.

Arranged under four project areas: Join In, Performance and Participation, Enterprise and Celebrate, the programme will reach young people, families, teachers and members of the local and rural communities of all ages and abilities.

Activities for young people include a rural youth theatre project, a dance project for primary-aged boys, a technical theatre skills initiative for secondary drama pupils in partnership with the Scottish Drama Training Network and dance sessions for young people with physical and learning disabilities. There will be creative play sessions for fathers and their young children and an associate artists programme which will embed professional theatre-makers into the local community.

Noëlle Cobden, head of creative learning at Horsecross Arts said:

“The new programme will see us welcome people into our fantastic new Creative Learning spaces at Perth Theatre as well as getting out into rural communities and working with people in their own environments. We will encourage links between professional artists and the Perth and Kinross community, providing opportunities for local people to work with us to create new and exciting performances. The programme will focus on widening access and diversity, while offering bespoke and innovative training initiatives for the next generation of theatre and music-makers.”

Join In is a programme of life-enhancing workshops and classes for young people aged 0-21 years from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of needs. The programme is delivered in close partnership with local organisations and young people to assess gaps in provision and recognise in-need groups. In addition to the long-running Perth Youth Theatre, Dance and Glee classes new Join In activities include: Little Stars Creative Play sessions in nurseries outside Perth city, Little Stars Creative Play Dads’ Day sessions, Little Stars Creative Play Grandparents’ Day sessions and Perth Youth Theatre Satellite Projects in Kinross, Alyth and Kirkmichael, and with Perth Young Carers.

Performance and Participation opens up creative processes and rehearsal rooms to young people from across the region. With Perth Theatre newly reopened after a four-year transformation, and Perth Concert Hall recognised as one of the finest venues in the UK, high-calibre artists can provide both performances and participatory experiences for young people. This will include professional performances created for and with young people in schools, community settings and the two venues.

Performance and Participation initiatives which will be adopted into the core programme include the Primary School Set Design Challenge, which saw over 500 children from 16 schools in create their own set model boxes based on Perth Theatre’s homecoming pantomime, Aladdin. An Associate Artist programme will see pupils from 15 schools across Perth and Kinross, Edinburgh and Glasgow work with playwright Clare Duffy on the development of her new show Big Data. There will be specialist artform masterclasses, schools’ theatre tours, an online initiative for schools which will open up a theatre director’s process from page to stage via a digital notebook and projects with the RSNO, SCO and BBC SSO for young people.

The Enterprise training and development scheme offers children and young people aged 10-26 years hands-on opportunities to gain an understanding of the range of jobs available within an arts organisation. As well as mentoring young people whose chosen career is in the arts, the arts are used to build confidence, self-esteem, team-working, and business and leadership skills. Projects and initiatives under the Enterprise banner include Take Your Child to Work Day, Schools’ Work Experience Programme, Creative Assistant Bursary, Trainee Director Bursary, Navigate Work Experience Programme, Technical Theatre Skills Initiative for secondary schools, New Careers in Theatre/Music/Dance Day. Additionally, the Creative Learning team will begin delivering the nationally accredited Arts Award scheme – the first organisation to deliver this high level creative training in Perth and Kinross

Celebrate honours the past, marks the present and creates the future through large-scale participatory events. In 2018, the focus has been to celebrate the Year of Young People in 2018 through excellent artistic and creative learning activities with young people at the heart. The culmination of this will be a Christmas cabaret performance involving over 200 5-18 year olds.

Click here for further information about Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre’s community arts programme.