Future Stages

Future Stages is a participatory arts intervention programme supporting young people who are considered ‘at risk’. Practitioners such as Augusto Boal and Dorothy Heathcote have inspired the drama methodologies adopted. The programme is specifically designed to support young people aged 5 - 12 years from disadvantaged circumstances who find themselves on the brink of exclusion or other crises. Working in partnership with local authorities, schools and pupil referral units, the project aims to give young people effective lifelong tools that they can use to maximise their strengths and so break the cycle of deprivation, not only for themselves, but also for their communities.

Projects 2013 – 2015

Kennington Park Academy
We worked in partnership with Kennington Park Academy (KPA) who work with up to 50 primary-age pupils who have been excluded from mainstream education. KPA aims to re-integrate children to mainstream primary schools or support the transitions to specialist provisions or secondary schools at the end of year 6. The participants of this project develop their personal and social skills though drama structures such as role play and improvisation. Workshops engage the children’s imaginations, giving an exciting focus that responds to their diverse learning styles and provides a memorable learning experience. Drama techniques such as story making and character dilemma also helped children to develop resilience which supports their transition to secondary school.

The project aimed to increase:

Kennington Park Academy Artist in Residence
We are delighted that Ovalhouse and KPA are able to continue to work in partnership beyond this three year project. Ovalhouse will work closely with teaching staff to embed drama-in-education practice in the classroom teaching of KPA. This will be through an Ovalhouse artist in residence during 2015-16 academic year.

The Ovalhouse artist in residence will:

Pick&Mix engaged children who are facing challenge in their lives and aimed to increase self confidence, resilience and well-being using drama and complementary art forms. This project for children aged 8 – 12 years, welcomed children who were: bereaved, have low self-confidence, are at risk of bullying/ being bullied, are young carers, are children in need or have Child Protection Plans, are young migrants/ refugees /asylum seekers, are at risk /or have been excluded from school. The project ran as after school workshops 4.30 – 6pm on Wednesdays. 

The aim of the project was to support children at a time of crisis or that have a high level of vulnerability. This project has no specific partner and is a self-referral project that maintains strong links with Safeguarding and SENCO Officers in schools, with social workers and foster carers, offering a dialogue on the progress children make during the project.

It was led by 3 arts practitioners who had a specialism in the arts and working with young people at risk. Over 2 years, children used arts and drama to improve their listening skills, collaborative working and gained confidence in sharing their work. Through these activities they achieved outcomes where they developed cognitive skills though creating their own narratives, problem solving imaginary dilemmas individually and as a group, and developed their imagination through improvised scenes and developing small dramas. They further developed creative skills through arts and crafts e.g collage and masks, went to the Little Angel Theatre to see a puppet show called Three Billy Pigs and made puppets of their own. These led to an outcome where they performed a puppet show to their parents and carers as a celebration in the last session of the project.

An external evaluation of Future Stages will soon be available to download, written by the Centre for Urban and Community Research. Predicted publishing date 30th October 2015.


“We saw puppets in London and I made my own puppet, we did a show and my granny came to watch me.” Pick&Mix Participant

“I have learnt how to believe in myself.” KPA participant

“We now encourage our peers to do the right thing and not the wrong.” KPA participant

“The group, being largely new to each other, were not cohesive or supportive of each other at the beginning but by the end of the year they had developed as a group showing a marked improvement in their social skills. They were far more supportive of each other and skills such as turn taking and listening to each other improved. This was an enormous boost to the children.  School exclusion is often very damaging to a child’s self esteem and even short projects like this can make a big difference." Class Teacher, Kennington Park Academy

Additional information

​For more information contact Naomi Shoba, naomi.shoba@ovalhouse.com

Future Stages was generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the KPMG Foundation, the Equitable Charitable Trust.