At Chesham Connect we thought it was important to highlight some of the brilliant organisations around our lovely town that really make a different to our people and our community. So introducing The Theatre Shed….
How did you decide to set up in Chesham?
The Theatre Shed was originally set up as Shed@ThePark way back in 2005, as Chesham’s local inclusive performing arts charity and was based at Chesham Park Community College, now Chiltern Hills Academy. The group was launched by Irene Perrin, head teacher of Chesham Park Community College at the time, along with drama teacher Lindsey Gonzalez-Romero and musician Fran Woodcock (who now records under the stage name Fran Wyburn), supported by a board of trustees including Sal Alford, who is still our patron after 15 years. The theatre company initially had a large proportion of its membership coming from the school, with a lot of the volunteer mentors coming from the older drama and arts students, with much encouragement from Lindsey, but word quickly spread throughout Chesham and the group expanded exponentially. Under the new leadership of artistic director Viv Berry, in 2015 the company became The Theatre Shed and the name change was celebrated with their tremendous 10 year anniversary show Lifted performed at the Elgiva. We now run weekly workshops for Children’s Theatre (6 – 11/12) and Youth Theatre (12+) at The Beacon School in Chesham Bois.
What would surprise your customers to know about you / your company?
People may know that we are linked to Chickenshed in London, but what they may not know is that we are actually one of 11 satellite companies around the UK. This means that although we follow the same inclusive arts ethos as Chickenshed, we are actually a separate charity which means we receive no central funding, so we do all we can to raise our own funds in order to keep doing the great work that we do.
What is the best thing about being based in Chesham?
Chesham is full of incredibly generous people who love to support local organisations. So many wonderful people have provided us with venues, let us put up posters, housed our donation pots, taken part in fundraisers, held their own fundraisers, and so much more. We are currently working closely with The Beacon School, Flying Start Tuition, WDG Research, InkLink, QED Management Systems, Chartridge Park Golf Club, and Beijing Gourmet. The McMinn Centre provided us with a venue for our Christmas production back in 2016, and we are currently one of Emily Culverhouse’s mayoral charities for the year. This is to name but a few local supporters – we simply could not facilitate the work that we do with our members without all of this amazing support from our wonderful community .
New developments for this month?
This month our members are very busy developing their upcoming productions. Our Children’s Theatre are putting on their very own play ‘Monster Next Door’ at The Beacon School’s wonderful Spinney Theatre on 19th and 20th May – check our website for details. Our Youth Theatre are preparing to take their production ‘From One Heart To Another’ on tour to the Brighton Fringe Festival in May, The Beacon School in June and Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. We are also organising our biannual Charity Gala which will be held in November at Chartridge Park Golf Club. We have so much going on, it is an incredibly exciting time for us and we are always looking for fundraising opportunities to facilitate all the things we do, so please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the latest announcements and details of upcoming events and activities.
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