Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Community drama workshops at Coventry’s Belgrade

Published: 15 December 2018

Adults with experience of homelessness and mental health difficulties in Coventry and Warwickshire will be able to benefit from a series of community drama workshops at the Belgrade Theatre.

Delivered by community theatre company Underground Lights, the sessions aim to support people faced with social disadvantage, drawing on research that demonstrates how participation in theatre and the arts can play an important part in improving mental health and well-being.

Underground Lights was founded by drama practitioner and mental health researcher Emma Ormerod together with Lewis Ford who has experienced homelessness.

Ormerod’s ten years’ experience working with socially excluded adults includes work at homeless drop-in centres in Leamington and Crisis in Birmingham. She has a PhD in criminal justice which involved research into mental health.

“As a teenager, I went through a period of mental ill health, just after finishing my GCSEs. But when Exeter Northcott put out a call for people to join an acting chorus, I decided to sign up. Pretty soon I found it was the glue that was holding me together,” she explained.

Underground Lights will deliver practical, skills-based workshops for about 15 people, culminating in a showcase for an invited audience.

Belgrade Theatre associate director Justine Themen added, “Underground Lights is reaching individuals and communities that may not use the Belgrade and we want to make it clear that this space belongs to everyone in the city.”

Underground Lights begins its programme of weekly workshops at the Belgrade Theatre on Friday 11 January.

Steve Orme