Illustrious guests including Hackney’s mayor Philip Glanville descended on the Arcola last week for the 20th anniversary bash of a groundbreaking youth theatre charity.
Immediate Theatre runs theatre workshops in deprived areas of the borough to engage local young people and arm them with skills to improve their lives.
The company was set up by founder Jo Carter in her bedsit in 1996 and has gone on to operate nine youth theatres in the borough, including at Hackney Downs, Woodberry Down, Kingsmead Estate and Dalston.
The party, held at the Arcola Theatre, also celebrated the company’s survival following severe funding cuts last year.
Hackney’s mayor Philip Glanville cut the birthday cake, and in a speech stressed the importance of the support theatre gives to the most vulnerable people in the borough.
— Kenan Kián (@kenan_kian) October 29, 2016
Immediate Theatre encourages young people to engage with complex and sensitive topics such as food banks, domestic violence and sexual health.
Their aim is make theatre in communities, providing Hackney children with the skills that will allow them to effect social change.
“What’s unusual about us is that we do work in areas of quite high deprivation and we sustain those projects, so we don’t go in and do a quick project and then run away,” Carter told the Hackney Citizen in an interview last year.
The party was also partly a celebration of how the company managed to survive severe funding cuts last year.
And it wouldn’t have been an Immediate Theatre event without some drama. A group of young actors performed several pieces of drama and musical acts, giving the audience an insight into the work they do at the youth theatres.
Performers from Immediate’s disabilities group at the Huddleston Centre, and a participant who has now left to join Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA,) also took part in the performances.