Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Submitted by: Israel, Gordon and Co. Ltd


Mousetrap Theatre Projects is dedicated to bringing the magic of theatre into the lives of disadvantaged children and young people, by taking thousands of them to London’s theatres each year.
London is home to some of the world’s greatest theatre but many people who live in the city have never been inside even one of them. In a world where most young people receive all their media through screens, live theatre can expand and challenge our minds in a different way, immersing us in worlds, lives and cultures beyond our own experience. It is a truly communal event which helps make us more curious, open-minded human beings.
Mousetrap uses theatre trips as a starting point for creative projects in schools and community centres all over London which engage, educate and inspire. Taking part in drama is of huge benefit to young people’s self-confidence and soft skills, all crucial to their future prospects.
Such activities have the greatest impact where young people engage over time and often where parents are also involved. Therefore, Mousetrap is partnering with Orbit Housing Association to offer a sustained programme of activities to families and teenagers from their community over the next year. These will include opportunities to engage with West End theatre and drama-based workshops in their community.
The main barriers to enjoying the theatre for families is the extraordinarily high ticket prices and the feeling that it’s ‘not for people like us’. During the year, 20 Orbit families will have the opportunity to join Mousetrap’s FamilyFirstNights (FFN) scheme, which makes theatre accessible to families on low incomes or in other challenging circumstances, for example fostering, escaping domestic violence, having children with special needs. During the 2018 summer holidays, the Orbit families will have the chance to see a top West End show for just £6 per ticket. Mousetrap will provide lots of support and information about the things a novice theatregoer might not know e.g. what to wear, the cost of an ice cream etc, and every family will receive a telephone call from Mousetrap before their trip, to help them feel confident to go. After their summer trip, they’ll continue to receive more FFN ticket offers so families can continue going to the theatre.
Families often report that the trip is a valuable bonding experience and can make them feel valued and special when they are in difficult circumstances:
A mother said of her FFN experience this year “Living in such a culturally rich city can feel surreal if you are only a bystander, not a participant. FFN was our 'sunshine moment'.”
Money is just one of the many challenges experienced by disadvantaged young people. Low self-esteem and narrow life experience are also common. Going to the theatre broadens their horizons by taking them out of their local area and giving them insights into other worlds. Participating in drama lets young people express themselves, increasing their self-confidence and sense of identity and developing personal attributes which make them feel positive about themselves.
Mousetrap’s expert theatre practitioners will deliver two 6-week drama projects in the Orbit community. They’ll consult parents and young people first and tailor the content accordingly. Aims might include raising self-confidence, developing communication skills and improving community and/or family cohesion. Early sessions will build trust, encouraging co-operation. This helps create a safe, supportive environment for participants to explore ideas and express themselves creatively. They may choose to finish by staging a short performance for the community and the young people will be able to work towards achieving a Bronze Arts Award qualification.
In summary, a grant from Aviva would open the doors for an Orbit Housing community to experiences they are usually excluded from, and improve relationships within families and the community, leaving real and lasting benefits.

Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Location: London

As an ardent theatregoer, I’m inspired by Mousetrap’s efforts to give this special experience to families who face daily struggles far removed from my own. Parents’ comments about the impact theatre has on their children and the whole family make me proud to nominate this wonderful project.
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