A teenager who founded a Seaford junior theatre group has been awarded £2,500 to continue her bid to give youngsters the opportunity to perform and learn leadership skills.
Rebecca Woolven, 17, of Telscombe Cliffs, gained £2,500 of funding from O2 Think Big, having already received a £300 grant from the organisation last year towards a production of Aladdin.
She is a founder member of the Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors, which has had a big impact in the community since its launch in 2011.
The Juniors’ version of Aladdin ran for five shows and in recognition of the great potential this showed, Rebecca was selected by O2 to receive a Think Bigger Award of £2,500.
The funding will go towards free workshops at The Barn Theatre in Seaford for young people, where they can learn skills including dance, acting, comedy and ventriloquism, creative writing and vocal training.
It is hoped to involve talented stars from the arts world, including Colin Billing, an experienced conductor and musical director, and Giles Paley-Phillips, an award winning children’s author.
Each workshop will have around 20 young people in attendance with at least one ‘leader’ of the group.
These leaders will be taught leadership skills, and will then be encouraged and supported to take a performance to the community as part of a ‘pay it forward’ scheme.
They can also work towards Vinspired and Arts Awards to add to their CVs.
Rebecca is passionate about bringing confidence and skills building opportunities to other young people, as other groups can sometimes be too expensive for regular attendance.
The initiative works by putting cash directly in the hands of young people and supporting them to use the money in a way that delivers a positive impact in their local area.
Rebecca will also be assigned a designated O2 Helper and they will meet regularly to ensure the project is on track and provide support and encouragement.
Rebecca, a Drama and Sociology student at Sussex Downs College said: “I’m thrilled to get the chance to continue my project and take my idea to the next level.
“I hope my workshops will provide a really valuable service to help children, teens and young adults to build skills and confidence, while still being great fun. I’m excited to get stuck into the project.”
To find out more about attending the workshops, visit http://seafordmusicaltheatre.co.uk/