East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Employment, Education and Skills Team has joined up with East Riding Theatre’s Artist in Residence – She Productions – to deliver an innovative training course for local unemployed people.
The Finding Your Voice Programme is designed to build confidence, communication, social and creative skills for local unemployed people.
It was a three-week programme of activities that culminated in an informal ‘performance’ to an audience of family and friends at East Riding Theatre on Thursday, 19 July.
The drama-based workshops were developed by She Productions over the past three years to help to develop people’s communication, confidence and social skills. The council’s employment, education and skills team were looking to work with a local partner and develop an innovative approach to employability training and helping local residents to move on in life and work.
Annie Kirkman from She Productions said: “Here at She we believe that drama is not just about ‘being an actor’, the exercises we use within our outreach programmes are designed to develop life skills by building trust, challenging social expectations and commending courage. We are constantly adapting our workshops to who we are working with and this particular group have inspired us to not only think about ‘finding your voice’ but ‘finding you’, through whatever form of expression you choose.”
“We are always looking at creative ways that we can help our clients in the East Riding to overcome barriers to moving on in life and work. We believe that working in partnership and offering creative subjects like drama help people to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. We often see clients with pretty emotional stories and backgrounds exhilarated after taking part in these workshops – people with a renewed sense of purpose and a much more positive outlook for what lies ahead.”
Holly North, 18, from Hessle, has been getting support from the team for some months and she is embracing new experiences in order to increase her confidence skills and ultimately find work.
“The live performance was very different to our rehearsals. Once the audience started clapping I felt amazing. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was nerve wracking, but I feel really proud of my achievement.”
Adam Lloyd, 26, from Bridlington, works as a volunteer at East Riding Theatre and is also getting employability support from the council’s employment, education and skills team. He’s looking to move to Beverley so that he can be nearer his social network and get a job.
“The workshops and live performance have really improved my self esteem. I feel that I can take a lot of what I’ve learned from the experience into my next step which will be great. I felt incredible with the reaction from the performance. I felt a lot of energy and emotion and the reaction from the audience really helped.”
For more information about support available, visit www.eastriding.gov.uk/learn or call the Beverley Adult Learning Centre on (01482) 887670.