An award from The Arts Council allowed us work in partnership with The Booth Centre, one of the country’s leading day centre’s for homeless people.
We offer regular drama and singing sessions, engaging rough sleepers and those at risk of being homeless in making high quality theatre and in all aspects of running a theatre company.
We work with them to produce 2 shows a year which are performed both at The Edge and at The Booth Centre. The shows produced create opportunities for friends, family, other homeless people and staff to see participants achieve. They also raise the profile of homelessness and the arts, including members of the general public who have their perceptions of homeless people challenged through seeing a high quality performance produced by the company.
The drama work has had a transforming effect on the people who took part. We watched them grow in confidence, learn to work together as a group, to trust each other and to listen to each other. They learnt new skills and their communication skills greatly increased. When they performed in public their self esteem increased fantastically. Many members of the group have moved on to employment, to take up education and training courses or have entered detox, as a direct result of the boost they got from the drama workshops.Amanda Croome, MBE, CEO of The Booth Centre
I was drinking heavily for 13 years and I couldn’t hold down my job and had to move in with my dad. My mum passed away around the same time. My drinking and drug taking spiralled out of control and I couldn’t stay with him anymore. I slept rough in the city for three weeks. It was really scary, even for a bloke. I would find the most hidden places to sleep, just so nobody could find me. I realised then that you can either sink, or you can learn to swim fast! I ran out of money and ended up being forced to beg on the streets. The Town Hall recommended I go to the Booth Centre for support.
I started coming to the Booth Centre every day and joining in all the different activity sessions. I got involved in the drama group and have just had a part in the summer play, a murder mystery. I managed to remember all my lines, and loved seeing the audience’s reaction. I never thought I’d enjoy it so much but it has really helped improve my confidence and I am now volunteering at The Booth Centre as a peer mentor and I am in permanent accommodation. Having something so positive to get so involved in which provided an alternative to negative activity had such a big impact on me.