Acting Out is the Belgrade’s groundbreaking, work-related learning programme that works with young people who are not achieving their full potential within the mainstream education system. It provides them with an opportunity to participate in drama, dance and performing arts business activities based at the theatre
Acting Out takes referrals from schools across Coventry and the young people involved attend two sessions a week over a period of two years. The programme contributes to raising their confidence levels, their communication skills and their performance skills. It also develops their personal skills, building their self-esteem and improving their performance back at school.
Crucially, the programme provides students with an opportunity to study for a BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Performing Arts, a qualification which is equivalent to four GCSEs.
The project has been rolled out very successfully in both Cardiff and Birmingham, and has twice been held up as a model of best practice in the Government White Paper on 14-19 Education and Skills, keeping the Belgrade Theatre firmly at the forefront of pioneering community arts work.
Students also have the opportunity to continue their work with the Theatre through the graduate company Acting Up, which offers them the opportunity to continue to meet each other and develop their theatre arts skills in a supported context through workshops and new productions.
Danielle Ismay’s behaviour had left her at risk of exclusion from school and put on a curfew, but after being referred by her school to Acting Out at the Belgrade, she began to focus her energies in a new direction.
Danielle said, “I started coming to sessions at the Belgrade once a week after getting into trouble at school and it really changed my life.”
Danielle was even chosen to take part in a professional Main Stage production of The House of Bernarda Alba when the director, Gadi Roll, decided to cast some young local actors in one of the play’s most visually stunning scenes.
Former Belgrade Drama Worker, Lisa Byrne, said “Danielle had a bit of a shaky start with Acting Out, but once she settled she began to improve massively. She began to feel very proud of her work and as a result she began to flourish. Her passion, determination and love of the work all contributed to her fantastic results, achieving distinctions in both her acting and dance certificates.”
You can read more about Danielle’s story in this article from the Coventry Telegraph.