“Home” is a young person-centred theatre project working with 13-16-year-olds in Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, to improve their understanding of multiculturalism, identity, culture, home and belonging.

London has the greatest number of migrants in the UK, with over 3 million foreign-born people living in the capital. Alongside London’s migrant population, approximately 36% of England’s asylum seekers reside in London. Estimates by the Greater London Authority in 2009 suggest a population of 600,000 refugees who arrived after 1989, represent 7% of London’s population.

London is an icon of multiculturalism, yet misunderstanding and conflict persists. From November 2015 to November 16, hate crimes, chiefly comprised of racist and xenophobic abuse, increased by 57%. The “Home” project will serve as an antidote to this community division.

We plan to work with 90 young people from 3 partner schools in Hackney (The Bridge Academy), Newham (St Bonaventure’s) and Tower Hamlets (Mulberry Girls School). By participating in the project, young people will have the opportunity to creatively explore what their cultural identity means to them; how they live alongside different cultures, what “home” means and what journey they have taken to arrive there.

At each of our 3 partner schools, we will undertake 3 school based tasters over 3 weeks, working with 30 young people in each session. Up to 20 young people from all three schools will participate in a 5-day workshop residency at Theatre Royal Stratford East. During this residency, all participants will look at the key themes of identity, home and belonging through performance, spoken word and movement. At the end of the week, the students will perform the final piece to friends and family. We will also aim to deliver performances, or screenings of the filmed performance, at each of the three participating schools.

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