Garratt Lane communities benefit from new arts and culture opportunities.

A new Young Company for Tara Theatre, a Wandle mural created with local schools, and Bounce Theatre bring back their popular creative cafe for adults, alongside a new children’s theatre project… discover the new creative opportunities for Wandsworth supported by Higgins Partnerships Cultural Action Plan.

Tara Theatre have launched a new Young Company for 18 to 25 year olds looking to develop a career in the arts, gain a professional credit, nurture a hobby and meet new people. Over a 12 week period, 11 young people who have a background or connections to migration or displacement due to conflict are developing and learning key skills in performance and production of a theatre show, culminating in a week of rehearsals and a week of performances in April 2023.

The Young Company will provide those taking part with a range of creative and life skills including public speaking, teamwork, writing and design, along with an increased feeling of community, leadership and employability skills.

Tara Theatre is the only UK theatre to produce an artistic programme which amplifies the voices, stories and talent of South Asian community, the UK’s largest minority group.

“We are delighted to be able to pilot our inaugural Young Company for 18–25-year-olds made possible by the funding from Higgins. It has been key to our ambition to provide an extensive and unique artist development programme for artists who identify as South Asian and/or Global Majority. The company members are some of the most bright, generous, and talented young people I have met and to be devising a show with them at Tara Theatre inspires me every day. Programmes like this are important to provide young people, especially of global majority heritage, a safe space to gain professional experience as well as express and find their voices and place in the wider cultural and arts sector and the world. Come and see them in their show, they are boldly and unapologetically shaping our future!”

Natasha Kathi-Chandra, Associate Director and Project Lead for the Young Company at Tara Theatre

Bounce Theatre‘s Turn Up, Join In project allows artists to take residency in the Home Cafe one day a week to celebrate the health benefits of art, food and community. 

Bounce has been able to continue to host a community art project for adults. The lunch club is open for anyone registered to turn up, sit with others, make art, share stories and eat. Participants are currently making set pieces for a children’s theatre piece. 

Bounce has also established a new youth theatre project for children ages 7-11. Local young children are devising a brand new performance Into the Forest – mashing up traditional tales into a new story celebrating bravery and kindness. Local teenagers are volunteering as mentors and assistant directors. The youth theatre champions a total communication approach, with children making the production through art, drama, improvisation and play to remove language barriers to participation. 

Into the Forest will be performed in July. It will be a piece of great art and ultimately a celebration of the community we have been able to build, thanks to the support of Higgins.”

Louise Pendry, Artistic Director at Bounce Theatre

And local artist and illustrator, Jane Porter is creating a mural which will feature on the hoarding of the Higgins Homes development on Garratt Lane. The theme follows the River Wandle from source to the Thames and highlighting its industrial heritage as well as the wildlife both in and around the river. The artwork will be a collection of collages and drawings which will be created by children from five different Wandsworth schools during workshops along with a half day drop in community workshop.

“I am delighted to be partnering with Higgins on this project – it’s particularly exciting to be working with such a large canvas, and with so many local children and community groups. As a long-standing Wandle clean-up volunteer, it’s really special for me to be able to bring my love of the river and my art practice together. It’s also lovely to work with the South East Rivers Trust education and help so many people to discover more about our local river and express what they have learned through visual art.”

Jane Porter

All these projects are supported by funding from Higgins Partnerships, secured through Section 106 planning commitments with Wandsworth Council. Amy Ross, Director of ESG at Higgins Partnerships said:

“We are committed to working with local communities in which we work to deliver social value initiatives that create social cohesion and improve lives. Art and cultural programmes are an important part of this and through the Cultural Action Plan, we are pleased to support and build on the council’s cultural priorities. We have already established partnerships with a number of local partners who are embedded in the local community to support their art and cultural programmes which will benefit everyone in the local area.”