Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Ovalhouse and its planned move to Brixton
Ovalhouse, based in Kennington, is passionate about helping disadvantaged young adults and children overcome the challenges their lifestyles and social circumstances bring. So much so that even a major electrical fire last January did not stop the staff's determination in making sure that they would resume their services quickly. They re-opened within weeks of the fire.
The charity's roots can be traced back to the 1930s when it operated as Christ Church (Oxford) Clubs and was run by the graduates of Christ Church College Oxford. The remit then was to give young people from disadvantaged areas the chance to use the campus for sports activities, days out and learn new skills that would help their future prospects.
Since then, Ovalhouse has evolved its range of services and continues to organise creative, participatory activities that combine educational benefits with artistic skill- building for the people they support.
The organisation is also known for encouraging its artists to express them selves uniquely and is often a springboard for ground breaking, brave new professional work. Its support in emerging artist's work seeking to make alternative theatre has proven to be popular with audiences looking beyond the mainstream.
Their productions always aim to empower, have an outcome and be entrepreneurial. For example, The Diary of a Hounslow Girl was written and successfully performed by one of their new artists, Ambreen Razia at the Ovalhouse last June. Since then, it has secured a significant grant to tour the country in May/June 2016. Similarly, a law firm that attended a performance of We are London was so impressed with the production that they donated £20K to Ovalhouse in recognition of their sterling work.
As well as being a pioneer in the areas of education and artistic endeavour, Ovalhouse also nurtures creative business hubs such as the Small Theatre Company, Corali a dance company for disabled performers and individuals working as graphic designers.
In March 2017, Ovalhouse is planning to move to its new home in Brixton as part of the Somerleyton Road project. Transferring there will make Ovalhouse even more accessible to those wishing to use their services. The new site will be part of a community partnership set up by the London Borough of Lambeth to provide new homes, community and health facilities, social enterprises and a new modern theatre that will house the Ovalhouse.
Although over half of the costs have been raised for this to happen including the land that the London Borough of Lambeth has very kindly donated with an application to the Arts Council England, a shortfall of £2million exists before building works can start on the new, purpose-built Ovalhouse Theatre.
A public fundraising campaign is in place called the Capital Campaign, lead by their newly announced Patron Pierce Brosnan, who was part of the original Ovalhouse Theatre Company. If you would like to donate towards this or any of the services/activities Ovalhouse offer, please contact Katie Milton, the Development Director - Capital Campaign, on 020 7820 7273 or by email Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the charity, please go to www.ovalhouse.com
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