Revolution Performing Arts Awarded £35,000 Covid19 Grant
Swindon Theatre Group Get Covid-19 Grant: Revolution Performing Arts – a company that provides classes to children and young people across Swindongets a grantfrom the Arts Council England’s Covid 19 Emergency Fund.
Founder, Fiona Da Silva-Adams said the money has been a life-saver for the organisation.
It’s currently offering its classes, one-to- one support and feedback online via Zoom and WhatsApp. It’s supporting around 350 young people aged 4 -18 years.
In addition, the team works with children in care and provides places free of charge to any young person affected by domestic abuse, referred by Swindon Women’s Aid. The aim is to provide an escape from the trauma of abuse. They also offer a family support morning to encourage autistic young people and their parents to experience the arts and network with each other.
Swindon Theatre Group Gets Covid-19 Grant – In shock
“When we knew lockdown was coming and that schools would close, I went into a state of shock. How would we survive this? Then we made a plan to go online and that’s what we’ve done. We got an initial premises grant which helped for a few weeks.
“This grant ensures that Revolution Performing Arts (RPA) can cover losses and remain a strong and viable company. With that there’s future delivery of performing arts twilight sessions for vulnerable young people. When I knew we’d got the funding, I cried and cried. It means so much.
“This now allows us to fund delivery of online sessions (a combination of live, pre-recorded and feedback). And provide a lifeline to young people during the pandemic.”
The birth of RPA
Fiona set up RPA in 2007 after a successful performing arts career which saw her study at the University of Middlesex and then return to Swindon to manage the Sixth Sense Theatre group – now known as Prime Theatre).
She struck out on her own under the original name of Drama Babes after having her children. The business has grown ever since and was later re-branded as RPA.
After school clubs
“We run after school clubs in many Swindon schools and often in non-school settings offering a range of activities from dance and drama to circus skills,” Fiona said.
“Young people often come to us to feel included, respected and celebrated. They strive to create excellent works of high artistic quality. They can do this because they feel safe to express themselves. These sessions will ensure they remain connected and included and safe.”
Fiona manages a team of 15 workshop leaders, some employed, some freelance and some volunteers. The grant, from Arts Council England via The National Lottery, allows her to keep working with them all as they deliver online workshops. This is valuable as subs have dwindled due to families being unable to afford the fees.
This isn’t the first time RPA have been in receipt of funding. In 2016, they received a smaller grant from Arts Council England in 2016 for an anti bullying film project in collaboration with Cre8 Studios.
In this show, children and adults embark on a delightful journey of curiosity and wonder. Guided by two friendly dance-performers, you’ll delve into magical caves, explore leafy forests, soar through starry night skies, and meet playful characters. All loosely inspired by the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland.
This is an interactive performance. One where you can choose to sit back and watch. Or you can get up and get-involved. Incorporating animated hand-drawn projection, dance, sound, text and interactive digital objects, Curiouser immerses and surrounds the audience to create an intimate yet spectacular experience. The show invites curiosity about what it might mean to view the world from a different perspective.
Adults become little and children become great in this interactive imaginary world of ever changing proportions.
Treat your little ones to an adventure with award-winning dance & digital artists Flexer & Sandiland and Norwegian company dybwikdans, both companies renowned for their intimate immersive works for young audiences. Recommended age 3+.
First an international tour of Disappearing Acts in 2016. Next recent success of The Hum (2017) the company’s sited mobile phone App commissioned by Brighton Festival 2017 and touring across the UK and as part of Without Walls. Then Flexer & Sandiland began their UK tour of Curiouser with a sold out premiere at The Lowry Theatre and now they are touring the UK.
I’ve been meaning to do this post about Revolution Performing Arts for a while now. But y’know how it is. I’m sorry Fi!
Fiona Di Silva Adams invited me to attend the show, by Revolution Performing Arts, called Be Your Unique at Swindon’s Arts Centre earlier in January. It’s taken me until now to get round to give it a mention here.
‘Being unique is better than being perfect‘
‘RPA Rapport is a performing arts company with a difference – actively encouraging young people to find and celebrate their differences.
Changing young people’s lives. RPA nurtures all young people, empowering them to feel fabulous and celebrating the amazing individuals they are: revolutionpa.co.uk
In this annual sharing performance, the teenage members of RPA Rapport worked with professional arts practitioners to create pieces that explored what it means to be unique. This uplifting and thought-provoking performance comprised short drama, dance and music pieces all designed and technically managed by the young people themselves in their own words and attitudes.”
There were insightful monologues written by the young people themselves. They did the choreography themselves also. And, above all, as it says on the groups Facebook page: ‘showed that with young people in this world we can all make a difference to embrace our uniqueness and make the world a better place.’
As a friend of mine, Carole Bent, said of the dress rehearsal of this performance:
‘A genuine privilege to witness the dress rehearsal of ‘Be Your Unique’. Very well done to every single young person taking part, RPA team & the Arts Centre.
Am sure that the audience tonight will be as moved and engaged as I was & hope that everyone on stage enjoys every moment. Thankyou Fiona Fi Da Silva-Adams Paul, Sam Olly & all xx’
And Amen to that says I. Because being unique is sooooooo much better than being perfect!
The train is a perfect vehicle ( sorry!) around which to build a thriller. So it’s not surprising that Agatha Christie (the queen of crime herself) made brilliant use of it it Murder on the Orient Express. Also, Ethel Lina White’s 1936 novel The Wheel Spins – better known as The Lady Vanishes – uses the conceit of a mystery centred around a train. I don’t want to say too much about the plot of The Girl on the Train but there are resonances between the two – in that each features a young woman who has seen something on/from a train but is persuaded by others that she hasn’t. In this play the central character, Rachel Watson, has doubt planted in her mind by her ex-husband.
How is he able to achieve that? Because Rachel is a drunk on a downward emotional spiral. One of several themes running through this play is that of domestic abuse – in this case gaslighting.
In this central role, Samantha Womack ( of Eastender’s fame) is entirely believable as a young woman depressed by her infertility and the loss of her marriage, her husband to another woman who IS fertile and has produced a child. She gives a strong performance in what must be a challenging role.
It’s always interesting to see how a book is adapted for the stage. I thought this was rather nicely done. The passing of the days and the changes of location in this production are smoothly executed. My companion for the evening, who as it happens, had recently finished the novel, thought the adaptation was rather good.
All the elements of a good thriller are there. There’s the requisite number of red herrings for a start. All in all a cracking play.
The play is running at the Wyvern Theatre until Saturday 12th October – so if you’ve got a free evening get your tickets and get on board!
I’ve been to several of them now and they do seem to get better each year. They do a damn good job – all them. On stage and off – the standard is VERY high. All kudos to the Wyvern, to the foundation and to the kids themselves.
I said it then – and I’ll say it again. That young man has ‘it’. So when, in a few year’s time, you see his name in lights remember: you saw him here first.
Here again, in the Wyvern’s Summer Youth Project 2019, in the lead role as Caractacus Potts, the still-only-17-year-old Archie gives a credible performance as as father to two young mother-less children.
A host of memorable performances
But I can’t only talk about Archie Fisher. The production boasts a full complement of super performances. There are not one but two lovely comic duos. Michael Kerr gives a good turn as the infantile Bulgarian Baron – one feels apologies are owed to Bulgaria – and so does Rae Alexander as his long-suffering, indulgent wife.
Amy Gordon made a fitting Truly Scrumptious with her sweet singing voice fitting the role well.
Also deserving a particular mention are Maddy Stimpson-Duffy and Marcellus Hill as Cloris and Goran, the Baron’s bumbling spies sent to get hold of Pott’s car. Lots of laughs from all four! Super stuff.
Both the youngsters playing Pott’s children were scene stealers of course. But I have to give a special word about Mollie Avenell – I felt she too had a notable stage presence.
I confess I didn’t know that Christmas in July is a thing in Down Under. I rather like the idea I must say. Amazing what you discover when writing about Christmas at the Wyvern Theatre.
What Christmas in July is in this country though, is a marketing opportunity. A quick root on a well-known search engine* brings up all sorts of marketing suggestions for business of all kinds. But in particular for hotels, restaurants and theatres to showcase Christmas menus and events. Makes sense.
So we gorged on pigs in blankets, as is only right and proper it being Christmas, while the lovely Wyvern marketing team told us what’s going down at the theatre over the forthcoming festive season. And I know it’s only July BUT – JC’s birthday will hurtle towards us at the speed of light once we get into August.
Being all about the food and drink, my ears pricked up at mention of a new service being planned (I don’t think it’s here yet) whereby you’ll be able to get interval drinks brought to your seat. Which will be nice!
Now, I spend a fair amount of time in Surrey at my daughter’s and Esher has an Everyman cinema – go to an Everyman and you’ll never go to a multiplex again. The Everymans have couches and cushions and tables and tons of leg room. You order food and drink before you go into your film and they bring it to you. It’s amazing. I wish we had an Everyman in Swindon.
Sooo – back to the point – I’m liking this plan from the Wyvern.