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Looking back on National Storytelling Week at Light UP

Last week, on Light UP’s Facebook we took the National Storytelling Week challenge to answer five big questions about us, who we are, and what we do:

Well, who are you and what do you do?

Light UP is a youth theatre and part of professional theatre company Unexpected Places. Our aim is to use the performing arts to give children and young people the support and tools needed to build their confidence, creativity, and teamwork skills in a safe and welcoming environment. Our classes are about engaging curiosity and encouraging children to explore through drama-based games, activities, rehearsals, performances - and so much more!

Does this drama stuff actually help?

There are a myriad of benefits that a drama education can bring from meeting new friends in our classes, to expressing themselves confidently on stage. Our experienced teachers bring their passion for the performing arts to every class and workshop we run. We also have links to professional theatre companies, including our very own Unexpected Places where keen students have the opportunity to meet and work with professional actors.

As a charity, one of our aims is to bring these opportunities to participate in the performing arts to as many as possible - it drives everything we do! We make sure classes remain accessible, no matter what walk of life they come from. It’s our policy that no-one gets left out.

How did this all start?

Light UP was founded by our Artistic Director Rosanna Sloan, after she noticed the lack of affordable drama classes for children in and around Southampton and Hampshire. Our first class was held at Hamble Village Memorial Hall in November 2014.

Seven years later, we have come a long way! We have had the pleasure of working with over 400 young people each week. In 2019 UP Studios in Hamble became our HQ and we continue to run classes and workshops across Hampshire in locations including Chandler’s Ford, Warsash, Shirley, Fareham, Gosport… and more!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

We asked Youth Theatre and Outreach Officer Rosie Peters, who said: “A happy tune and knowing that I get to play lots of games!”

Honestly, it’s seeing a student come in at the beginning of a term maybe feeling a bit nervous about what to expect, and then leaving at the end of the term with new friends and new found confidence. It’s helping young people to explore and encouraging them to be exactly who they are. There’s a world of theatre before them, and we want to help them become part of something amazing. It’s very rewarding for us to be part of that journey with them.

What’s it like behind the scenes?

There is often a lot going on! When we aren’t putting together new projects, coming up with new creative ideas for our classes, throwing themed birthday parties, keeping up to date with everything going on in our communities - sometimes we also get a chance to let our hair down.

On our staff social last year we invited some very special kids* into the studio to help us unwind… Goat yoga is a real thing, and we’d highly recommend it.

*kids, baby goats, get it?


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