Phoenix Theatre Group
Phoenix Theatre is acta’s open access theatre company for young adults aged 16 -25 years. It began as part of acta’s Get Together local programme of participatory arts activities supported by the lottery, and in recent years has secured investment from the Nisbet Trust. It is a truly inclusive group which engages young adults with a range of different backgrounds and vulnerabilities.
Phoenix produces an annual production, and shows so far created have been: The Dream Queen (2013); Lost, Not Forgotten, at Arnos Vale Cemetery (2014); Wishing for Winter (2015); Three Green Bottles (2016); A Bit of Imagination (2017); The Underworld (2018); Tree of Life (2019) and the digital film from lockdown, Just Us (2020).
Group members participate for a combination of reasons that include a love of acting and feeling welcome in the group, to improve their confidence and self-esteem, and for the social aspect.
“If I didn’t have this, what would I do?”
“Time to be with other young people, need a break from own thoughts,
really good to be here and not think about things.”
“I’m always really happy when I’m here!”
“Drama makes me feel capable; my disability has been a knock to my
“Helps me to get out of the house, got anxiety – helps with self-confidence.”
More than theatre…
Phoenix Theatre Group is more than just creating new theatre. We help participants improve skills and well-being by challenging themselves to achieve. As such, they have set themselves the following targets:-
- Communication and presentation skills
- Acting skills e.g. voice projection
- Mental health & well-being
- Social interaction / making new friends
- Team working skills
- Creative skills & using imagination
- Recognition from local audiences
After a recent show, we asked the cast for their feedback…
“I have really enjoyed it, thank you so much for building me up and having confidence in me when I did not feel confident in myself. It has also really lifted my mood.”
“I was loud and clear, remembered everything. Found it very hard to cope with the pressures of the show, being there on time and being happy back stage when going through everything I am going through. Found it physically and mentally a real challenge and didn’t cope very well backstage, but pulled it together when on stage.”
“In terms of my social skills, there are some things I still feel I struggle to understand; however, there have been some improvements. Contrasting to this: my ability to work in a team has been honed massively… I feel that our performance yesterday was exceptional. (My character) was incredibly well received and I was proud to deliver a good performance.”
“It’s gone really well. I’ve been able to help everyone be happy, and I’ve felt more confident with my performing.”
“I missed quite a few rehearsals due to ill health. But it all came together in the end. I shared ideas and became more confident in the group. Felt really comfortable in the team. It has given me confidence in using my chair in performing. I want to go on and do more outgoing things…”
“Audience did chuckle at me… heard laughs from the audience, they seemed to really like me.”
“I learnt that less is more! I’ve gained more confidence in myself. I feel we’ve gotten closer as a group whilst doing the sho and support and love from everyone has been great… going through a tough time this last month I couldn’t have gotten through it without everyone. So thank you.”
Early in 2020, (and before the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK), Phoenix began work on a new show to be set in the aftermath of a global catastrophe!
Group members have been staying connected during lockdown, and enjoyed a few online sessions to consider their character profiles. We look forward to seeing how Phoenix Theatre respond to lockdown. Watch their film Just Us (see below) which was one of the Films from Lockdown series, premiered back in July 2020, as part of acta’s Creation in Isolation.
In 2021, the group continue to meet online and are hoping for a live theatre performance in late Autumn 2021.