At a ceremony on Oct. 16, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, gave an address on the benefits that theatre can have in a community. The panel also included Nicholas Hytner, the next artistic director of the National, because the National Theatre is behind this program of using theatre to unlock potential, enhance community activity and enrich lives.
The Art of Regeneration is based at the Albany Theatre, Deptford, and is primarily focussed on young people from 7 to 26 years old. It's aim is to provide an exciting range of in and out-of-school programs helping raise young people's awareness of theatre and developing their creativity.
The lead partner in this process is the National Theatre; others involved include the London Borough of Lewisham, the Deptford Albany, The London Borough of Greenwich, Goldsmiths College, Lewisham College, London Arts and the London Development Agency.
This is an ongoing process that, it is hoped, will be used as a model across the country. However important economics may be to regenerating inner city areas, culture also plays a vital part, and to introduce young people (who would otherwise have no chance of experiencing it) to theatre, and especially theatre in the context of a building that is physically at the heart of their community, is an ideal way of achieving this.
—By Paul webb Theatrenow