A Liverpool theatre company has received a trio of funding boosts for projects across Merseyside over the next four years.
Collective Encounters delivers theatre for social change projects in the area’s communities, with an aim of giving a voice to those who are seldom heard and developing participants’ skills.
It has been awarded £198,000 from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, £120,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and £106,000 from Children in Need.
Annette Burghes, executive director of Collective Encounters, which is marking its 15th anniversary having been established in 2004, says: “We’re more than delighted with these awards and cannot thank the trustees of The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Children in Need enough.
“This new funding will enable Collective Encounters to establish a Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre; deliver artistic residencies in Bootle, Birkenhead and Knowsley; launch a new training programme for emerging and established artists; continue our work with young people including those who are in care or have recently arrived in the UK and strengthen the case for investment in the arts.”
The latest projects by Collective Encounters, which has seen more than 11,000 people take part in its workshops and performances over the years, include the recent release of its interactive film ‘Keep Pushing’ and its forthcoming poetry anthology ‘The Collective Encounter’
Commissioned by The Space (BBC/Arts Council England), ‘Keep Pushing’ features members of the homeless community, ex-service personnel, those in recovery from addiction, young people in care and others who have experienced social, economic and health inequality. It shines a light on homelessness, child poverty and the NHS funding crisis.
Meanwhile ‘The Collective Encounter’, which is due to be published in May, features poetry written by artists and activists on the margins of society, about the margins of society.
Artistic director Sarah Thornton adds: “We believe in the power of the arts to change lives, transform communities and stimulate debate on important social and political issues.
“That in these times when far too may have been left behind socially and economically it is the role of the arts to bring people together to share ideas, find connections and play out new possibilities.”