action transport theatre annual report

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  • Annual Report 2015 - 2016

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    BUS (Young Actors Project)Credit - Sylvia Selzer

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    Action Transport TheatreAt Action Transport Theatre we dont believe children are the future. We know they are the now, the present. Their individual ideas and imaginations are relevant today and inspire and inform everything we do. We work with children and young people as creative collaborators, to make professional and aspirational theatre which we share locally, regionally, nationally and internationally from our home in Ellesmere Port

    ProfessionalWe create new work at Whitby Hall, our theatre base in Ellesmere Port as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. We develop new productions with arts and non-arts partners and support early-career theatre makers through our artist development initiatives. We export plays, processes, skills and ideas through our sector sharing events to ensure that the voices and creativity of young people contribute to the richness and diversity of our theatre landscape.

    Participation We have established unique processes of making new theatre by putting young people at the heart of all our work. Our annual participation programme includes Young Actors, Young Writers and innovative schools and outreach projects. In 2015-16 we also worked with Curious Minds (Bridge Organisation) as Creative Writing Champions working across schools and museums.

    Place We are the only specialist new work and dedicated young peoples theatre company in Cheshire. Our local community informs our programme activity here at Whitby Hall including our hugely popular Family Film Club, Open Days and performances from nationally and internationally renowned theatre companies taking place right in the heart of Ellesmere Port.

    Ellesmere Port has some of the highest levels of social and economic disadvantage in England (IMD 2015). Localschools report that there is a critical

    need to develop aspiration levels in children and young people whose families are often on low incomes or who are long term unemployed. ATT provides accessible, transformativearts experiences through our annual participation programme, through schools projects and by working in partnership with other organisations.

    We reached over

    14,000 Audiences

    across the country

    We worked with over

    120 schools across

    our programme

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    Princess and the Pea, Co production/Unity TheatreCredit Brian Roberts

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    The Year In brief...2015 - 2016 has been an exciting 12 months for Action Transport Theatre

    STATIk hit the road for its second national tour in May 2015. We reached 1177 audiences in 16 venues across the UK. Find out more about the tour on Page 7.

    Subtly subversive and visually arresting, this show is a deftly choreographed reminder of how universally enjoyable and effective good physical theatre can be

    The Stage

    Our pioneering LGBT show for 5+ Happily Ever After embarked on the first part of its schools tour across Cheshire West in September and October 2015 and travelled across Cheshire and Greater Manchester in March and April 2016 reaching 3840 school children and sparking a national news debate.

    Action Transport Theatre is on the front line when tackling difficult issues for children and it is no surprise that they are currently the only theatre company doing so. Contemporary theatre with always an important

    message to tell, childrens theatre has never been so excitingLiverpool Sound & Vision

    This Summer saw us take on our most ambitious Young Actors project yet, as we performed a new show on a (moving) bus travelling around Ellesmere Port. All seven performances were a sell out, as the young people took audiences on a tour of the town stopping at local sites including the Waterways Museum, the train station and the greyhound stadium.

    Taking risks that are rare in professional theatre let alone youth theatre Peer Reviewer

    And finally, we wrapped up the year very ha-pea as we once again embarked on our annual Christmas co-production with Unity Theatre, Liverpool delighting over 7,800 audiences with our retelling of The Princess and the Pea.

    A sublimely subtle addition to the fairytale recipea show that might be a re-run of a wrinkly old tale but, with invention and ingenuity throughout, feels gloriously fresh from the pod.

    Northern Soul

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    STATIkCredit - Johnathan Clover

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    In 2012, Action Transport Theatre asked hundreds of school children some of lifes biggest questions, inspired by responses that varied from serious to straight out silly, STATIk was born.

    Using these real recordings of primary school children in its soundtrack, STATIk is a testament to the wit and wisdom of children.

    STATIk began life as Action Transport Theatres highly successful pilot tour in Autumn 2012 as From the Mouths of Babes, made in partnership with Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, the Essar Oil Chester Literature Festival and The Brindley.

    The production was performed at rural touring venues, theatres, Gobbledeebook Childrens Literature Festival and schools to delighted audiences of all ages.

    In May July 2015 STATIk hit the road for its second national tour, reaching 1177 audiences in 16 venues across the UK including Londons Polka Theatre and The Spark Arts Festival.

    With a unique visual style and a soundtrack inspired by childrens answers to lifes big questions, STATIk reminds us of the wisdom of children and what happens when one person cant, or wont fit in. Making the most of this universal style, we hope to tour the show again, this time internationally, from 2018.

    It is always hugely heartwarming to see a childrens theatre piece of this standard. ATT have created an original and intelligent piece of theatre and have once again proven themselves as leaders in their

    fieldThe Reviews Hub

    Besides offering plenty to laugh about and to think about, the production holds one or two beautiful momentswatch out for the radio set which becomes a giggling baby, and a moving finale filled

    with a sense of hope and joyBritish Theatre Guide

    Comedy clowning and rebellious radios.


    We received multiple

    4 and 5 star reviews,

    totting up to 82 stars in total!

  • 8.Happily Ever AfterCredit -Johnathan Clover

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    Inspired by the book King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland, Happily Ever After is a beautiful, funny and delightful twist on the traditional fairytale developed in partnership with The Proud Trust in a pioneering primary schools project that began in October 2014.

    A schools project was delivered in 8 primary schools in Cheshire in Oct 2014 with wrap around, peer-led workshop activity delivered by local LGBT young people and supported by The Proud Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Equality and Diversity Fund.

    With further support from AGMA, Arts Council England, Cheshire Crime Beat and the Cheshire Crime Commissioner, The Proud Trust & ATT have developed the show into a full-length performance that toured across Cheshire and Greater Manchester with the same wrap-around educational activities in schools. At a special sector event in September 2015, theatre industry professionals, educators and diversity teams met at the Unity Theatre to watch the show and discuss the issues around the play. We were pleased and excited to welcome co-author of King and King Linda De Haan and her family to the event too.

    So far the project has reached 45 schools (including the 2014 tour), 4282 school pupils and audiences in 5 venues (Whitby Hall, Z-arts, Unity, Peoples History Museum and St Helens Library.) Happily Ever After will be continuing on a national tour to theatre spaces in Spring 2017.

    A delightful fairytale with a twist!

    Happily Ever After

    My compliments, to all of you,I am proud. Looks great! Hope you will be playing it again! (And again....) Makes me smile. Hope Ill get the chance to be in the audience

    Linda de Haan, Author and Illustrator of King and King

    Just to say what a fantastic idea I think it was to let the children watch a play as diverse as Happily Ever After I have never heard of such an initiative being brought into the classroom but I think it is a fantastic way to encourage children to be open minded and accepting of everybody, regardless of sexual orientation

    Parent of school pupil

    What an absolute priviledge to sit and watch such a wonderful and innovative piece of theatre. I was spellbound and quite emotional! A really excellent way of tackling this issue with primary aged pupils

    Headteacher, Cheshire

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    BUS (Young Actors Project)Credit - Sylvia Selzer

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    We first met Danny in 2014 when he joined the ATT Actioneers (Young Programmers and Producers). He later joined the ATT Young Actors, performing in two productions and ATT Young Writers, working on two international writing exchanges.

    At age 18, Danny was not in education, employment or training and he applied for an apprentice position with ATT (supported by the Curious Minds Trailblaze programme). For 12 weeks Danny had a range of experiences working across technical theatre, administration and touring.

    Previously, for Danny, its been a challenge to identify the right career path;

    I have had many aspirations for my career; fire- fighter, military, photography, even care, but none of them lasted long. Theatre is the one that stuck.

    Danny McElhinney

    With support and guidance from ATT, Danny has had the chance to pursue a career that suits him. He is regularly employed by ATT, operating touring shows solo in Whitby Hall Studio Theatre and supporting our V


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