Young people across Havering to take part in National Theatre’s Speak Up Programme in partnership with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

  • New creative programme delivered for free across Havering with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
  • Young people, teachers and artists to collaborate in five secondary schools in Havering with Creative Associates LUNG

Following a successful pilot phase that began in Autumn 2021, the National Theatre’s Speak Up programme will work with young people in five secondary schools in Havering across the next three years.

Speak Up is the NT’s new national programme which sees young people, who have been most affected by the pandemic, working in collaboration with local artists and teachers to co-create artistic responses to issues that are most important to them. Responding to the current challenges in schools, the programme aims to develop young people’s self-expression, wellbeing and personal skills, with an open-ended offer to make creative projects in their local area.

Speak Up will take place in selected schools across Havering in partnership with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch as part of the national programme which is also being delivered in Doncaster, Greater Manchester, Sunderland, Wakefield and Wolverhampton with the project extending into additional areas in 2023.

A successful pilot phase of Speak Up began in Autumn 2021 with secondary schools in Greater Manchester, Sunderland and Wakefield, with students taking part in a variety of creative sessions to empower them to tell their own stories and connect with each other and their local communities.

The NT is collaborating with LUNG as Creative Associates to deliver the training of artists and teachers and to develop the creative ambitions of Speak Up. LUNG is a campaign-led verbatim theatre company which works closely with communities nationally to shine a light on political, social and economic issues in modern Britain to ensure hidden voices are heard.

Speak Up is generously supported by the Mohn Westlake Foundation which shares the NT’s belief in the power of youth voice and working with young people to enable positive change in their lives, schools and local communities. Through a £3.3million grant to deliver the programme nationally, Speak Up will reach hundreds of thousands of students, with the majority of the funding distributed to partners enabling local employment of producers and artists.

James Watson, Head of Learning and Participation at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has said Speak Up will enable us to work in new and exciting ways alongside hundreds of young people, through an extraordinary new partnership with 5 local secondary schools. It’s giving young people space and support to explore and create their own work, empowering them to take risks and showcase their thoughts and opinions on the world as they see it. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to be furthering our partnership with the National Theatre to bring world class opportunities to communities in Havering as part of this national campaign.’

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre said, Speak Up is a crucial part of the National Theatre’s work in levelling up, giving agency to young people nationwide whose voices often go unheard and that the Covid pandemic hit even harder. This innovative model will empower young people to share their views on current issues and put them at the heart of the creative process. We are excited to build on our in-depth relationships with our Theatre Nation partners across the country to deliver this new programme, guided by the creative vision of LUNG with invaluable funding from the Mohn Westlake Foundation. Together we will support young people to become leaders of the future and make positive change in their own lives and in their communities.’

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