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13 March 2020

Behind the scenes of the London Theatre of the Year

Hello folks! I’m Miranda and I’m the Press and Marketing Officer at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. I wanted to welcome you to our inaugural staff blog as part of the celebration of our London Theatre of the Year Award from The Stage Awards 2020. Each month, a new member of staff will write about what they do, what projects they’re currently working on and what makes working at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch so special.

First, a little bit about me. I started working at Queen’s Theatre in 2018 as Audiences and Deputy Box Office Manager, and one of the schemes I immediately got involved with was the idea of a Youth Council for the Theatre. I was very privileged to have been introduced to theatre by my mum at the age of 14 who took me to see the RSC Histories Cycle in 2008 (8 plays, nearly 24 hours of Shakespeare!), but recognise that a lot of young people simply don’t have that moment of realisation about the joy of theatre. It’s made me a regular independent theatre goer in my own right, and I’m really passionate about improving access to the theatre for young people.

Which brings me to the Young Changemakers project! I work closely with my colleague Laura, Education and Partnerships Officer, to manage the programme. This programme is designed to make sure that young people’s views inform the way the organisation is run – from advising on communications, fundraising and strategy, to acting as ambassadors at events. At the end of 2019, we successfully recruited five extremely passionate and talented young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including university students, drama school students and young professionals.

The Young Changemakers play a vital role in ensuring the Theatre’s commitment to engaging young people and creating future generations of young theatre-goers. They’re a representative for young people and act as an advocate for the Theatre in their own communities. We’ve already had a really successful event for under 26 year olds run by the Young Changemakers in February for Macbeth. We decided what was key for attracting young people to theatre was a) low price point and b) exclusive access. As such, tickets for the event were £5 and included a ticket to the show, a stage combat workshop and a Q&A with the director (and pizza!). The Young Changemakers were in charge of everything, with myself and Laura overseeing from afar. They managed the social media marketing campaign around it, organised attendance from the director and facilitated the workshop.

They’re a really talented and enthusiastic bunch, and I can’t wait to work with them again. This is such a unique programme, and especially at a time where youth engagement in theatre is so low, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is really leading the way in welcoming young people into theatre. I’ve learned so much over the last two years of working here, and now I’ve (unfortunately) aged out of the Under 26 scheme, I’m pleased to know the Young Changemakers are here to carry on spreading the word!

If you are aged between 18 and 25 and would like to be involved in the Young Changemakers programme, or would like to know more about the work they do, please contact mirandaw@queens-theatre.co.uk

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