Our Work Experience Programme
Alongside our performances and online work, we also run a Work Experience Programme for students aged from eighteen to twenty-five who are transitioning from special schools and colleges. The students are offered opportunities in all aspects of theatre craft: performing, directing and stage management. Prior to the pandemic striking, the programme hosted seventeen students annually and it demonstrates to both young people and their parents that, with a little support, anything is possible.
Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions we have adapted the programme and are now offering it virtually. We are currently working with several young actors throughout the UK who work alongside our professional actors in producing Zoom sessions and filmed productions.
According to Mencap, young people with a learning disability are three times more likely to be NEET (not in education, employment and training) than those without a learning disability. The National Autistic Society’s employment campaign also found that just 16 per cent of adults with autism are in full-time paid work. The reasons behind these figures are both complex and worrying. Many young people with special educational needs still face prejudice because of their disabilities and struggle to secure employment. They may also lack confidence when with a little understanding and a few adjustments they could make a massive contribution in the workplace. Our programme helps young people to gain practical experience of working in a theatre in a nurturing and supportive environment. Our Artistic Director and programme leaders support students to experience different aspects of work and to find out what they like to do. We believe that, with the right support, anything is possible and provide mentoring and guidance to help young people work towards their goals.
“Thank you all for letting me play Bertie Bravesit, I absolutely loved playing Bertie. Being with Head2Head Theatre you’re all like my acting family. I want to wish you all of my kind wishes of what you might be doing next in your careers. I hope one day I am giving the opportunity to work with you again as I had a such great time with you all.”
Adapting our multi-sensory, interactive shows to an online environment
Like many families and charities, in 2020, we had to look at how we could quickly adapt out activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are thrilled to say that we successfully took Head2Head online. Our shows have been adapted to be available through Zoom, which has allowed us to reach over 3000 children and young people a week.
Our most recent adventure followed Stevie Solvesit- one of the most successful private detectives in Britain- who can solve any case with the help of some friends. Our audience members got involved online to help Stevie solve the case by looking at evidence, searching the wild wood, singing the solving song and learning some Makaton signs too!
To ensure that our shows are inclusive and multi-sensory despite being online, we keep audience numbers low so that each child can engage with the characters onscreen and feel included in the action. We also send out an advance pack (in this case a top-secret casefile!) so that families can be prepared with all the materials they need to fully engage in the show. This can include crunchy crisp packets, stretchy elastic bands, soft blankets, rustling leaves and much more. With materials such as these in their living rooms, the children in the audience can immerse themselves in the theatre world through different sensory ways.
Not only do our sessions provide respite and help families to enjoy an activity together, they also enable them to network with other families in a similar position. At the end of every Stevie Solvesit, we allow fifteen minutes for a “Snack and Chat” session. Families can chat to each other and the actors involved in the performance. During the lockdown these sessions have provided vital social contact at a time when other activities have been cancelled. As one parent said:
“It was almost like the face to face sessions. It felt really personal as Erica and Sara knew the participants and interacted really well and were still able to keep on track, despite the on screen interruptions - true professionals. Viewers felt relaxed and engaged. Best Zoom activity in Lockdown! Chat and snack after the performance was such a great idea that worked brilliantly! A super get together with friends. Thank you. We look forward to booking a place on the next Zoom sessions."
Despite all the challenges we’ve faced so far, the show must go on!
We're house hunting. And we need your help!
Over the years, we’ve performed in over 250 venues. A mix of our actors’ front rooms and a temporary base in Fetcham, take our online shows to over 1,000 children a month.And you’ve told us, you’re waiting for even bigger, better (and barmy!) shows.
Our challenge is, there are 23,000 SEND school children in Surrey alone.
Our current home just isn’t big enough. We need space for rehearsals, performance, production and storage. Poor Cinderella’s gown is a little crumpled and Blackbeard’s boat, quite squashed.
What’s the plan?
To open a fully-accessible, multi-purpose, SEND outreach, theatre and community centre. Enabling us to continue support for our 400+ family memberships, 80 SEND schools, respite centres, 100+ support networks and groups.
Most importantly, allowing us open our doors to even more families. Some of our activities will include:
Production of interactive and sensory films
Multi-layered adventure game
SEND and Wider Community
Soft, messy, sensory & craft workshops,
Family-orientated & SEND safe café
Fitness & leisure classes
SEND work experience
Community room hire
What do we need?
A 1,500 sqm centre, in 1 ha of land in central Surrey. We are now urgently searching for that site.
Local organisations have offered discounted and pro-bono support but the project is still estimated at £4m.
How can you help?
Please consider donating to us through Work for Good. Donations from your small business will go towards bring our dreams of this new centre to life. Help us in our journey to bring the magic of theatre to everyone!