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Helping Battersea Arts Centre young performers to challenge stereotypes

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) and the University of Roehampton have joined forces in a new partnership to support the organisation’s Homegrown Company. The programme connects young people with professional artists to create innovative pieces of theatre, which are then performed at Battersea Arts Centre in front of the public.

Posted: 17 March 2016

image for news story Helping Battersea Arts Centre young performers to challenge stereotypes
Members of Battersea Arts Centre's Homegrown Company, who are being supported by the University.Photo: Oliver Rudkin
As well as sponsoring the programme, the University and BAC have formed a wider partnership that will allow a student or graduate from the University to carry out a paid placement at BAC. The University’s academic staff will also carry out research and evaluation work in partnership with BAC, with activities being developed with Roehampton’s Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance, and Department of English and Creative Writing.

The University has decided to support BAC as part of its commitment to culture in London, and as a sign of its backing for young residents in Wandsworth who want to expand their artistic and creative abilities.

The Homegrown Company is open to people aged 13-21 and the partnership will allow BAC to employ a professional artist and director to run two-week intensive theatre projects twice a year. They will work with the young Homegrown members to devise an original piece on a subject relevant to their lives. The culminating performances will provide a chance for the community in Wandsworth to come together in an environment that celebrates young talent and, in some cases, challenges perceptions of young people.

The University has a respected Drama Theatre and Performance department which young people already part of the Homegrown Company will be welcome to apply to after they finish school, whilst current students at the University will also be able to join Homegrown to practise their performance skills.

Dr Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Head of Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University, said: “Working with professionals is one of the best ways to build the skills and experience required to succeed in the creative industries, and a great way to prepare for a Drama degree at university. Supporting our community is a high priority for the University of Roehampton. Around a quarter of our students come from south west London, so we have a strong interest in seeing them develop and build their skills.”

Rebecca Holt, Chief Operating Officer at Battersea Arts Centre said: “This partnership allows the Homegrown Company to thrive as a key strand of our work with young people, and supports our organisation’s purpose to inspire people, to take creative risks, to shape the future. We look forward to working with the University of Roehampton to forge connections and promote opportunities for young people and students based in south west London."

In addition to supporting BAC, the University of Roehampton’s commitment to the capital’s arts scene includes partnerships with Southbank Centre’s Imagine children’s festival, the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival and Wimbledon Book Fest.

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