Case study: Anthos Arts

Case study: Anthos Arts

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
04 Sep 2018

Anthos Arts are an Applied Physical Theatre Collaborative based in Devon. They aim to bridge communities by promoting cross-community collaboration, providing accessible and socially-engaged arts provision, and facilitating Arts Award in various local settings. Anthos Arts work with youths from various backgrounds, who may have experienced personal, social, geographical and/or emotional isolation. They support up-and-coming artists, provide youth theatre programmes for 7-18 year olds and deliver Arts in Health projects. They deliver Arts Award across all levels.


Anthos Arts provided a youth theatre programme called Wings in the Way. The project’s aim was to allow young people to learn skills in physical theatre and also to discuss the meaning of community and the effect of digital social networks on community. This resulted in a devised performance which toured to five venues within Devon and included a post-show discussion.

Arts Award is embedded in each project session. Students research the project topic and reflect on their participation and active contribution with their peers. For example, they were taught the movement languages of LeCoq, Laban and Butoh and applied theatre methods such as Augusto Boal and Dorothy Heathcote’s techniques. Newly formed external companies come into sessions and deliver workshops and share working performances. Recently, they explored site specific rehearsals in Exeter city centre, participated in workshops by East 15 and collaborated with local socially-engaged theatre artists in Devon and the University of Exeter. As a result, young people are able to access local performances, be involved in the shaping of professional art work, and be socially invested community artists.

Reed gained her Bronze Arts Award by focusing on developing self and creative confidence. Part A (explore the arts as a participant) was used to support and honour Reed’s involvement in Wings in the Way, exploring the self and artistic confidence that is required to learn a new art form, engage in social issues and devise a toured performance. For Part B (explore the arts as an audience member), Reed attended the dress rehearsal and final performance of Boxed In by March Productions. She assessed the collaboration’s creative decisions and shared her thoughts with her peers and also the Arts Award adviser. For Part C (arts inspiration), Reed researched her arts inspiration,

who has experienced and overcome similar personal confidence issues, producing an information pack that she shared with Anthos Arts cast and local collaborating artists. Finally, for Part D (arts skills share), Reed led two warm up sessions within the youth theatre rehearsals, sharing two unknown physical theatre exercises to the Anthos Arts community.

Every participant represented and approached their journey through Bronze differently. Reed used an online blog to reflect on each rehearsal, outlining the multiple physical theatre techniques that she was engaging with. She also used this to consider her future aspirations in the arts. She created a video log and DVD portfolio to supplement the online blog.

Anthos Arts is based on bridging communities and collaboration with organisations is a key part of their projects. Young people are able to work in local arts venues, such as the Northcott Theatre, The Beehive Arts Centre and The Phoenix Arts Centre. Working within these venues during the Arts Award programme meant that the participants were able to engage in the wider community and to reflect on how they could get involved in local arts.


Anthos - Rose and Alics (Melissa Barrett)Arts Award’s ethos, which asks young people to get involved with the arts through communication and engagement makes it possible for participants to access alternative sources of knowledge as well as realise how they themselves can teach and share with others. Since our young people come from such different backgrounds, the ways in which they perceive and interact creatively varies. By being able to communicate and share their experiences, they are learning how to be responsible and socially-engaged artists and community members.

By engaging in Arts Award, Reed discovered a new-found personal and artistic confidence, which led to her auditioning for a course at a local College. Reed excelled in the audition, taking her Arts Award portfolio as evidence of a committed and critical engagement in local arts and personal exploration. Reed is now studying a BTEC in Performing Arts and will complete the Silver Arts Award with Anthos Arts’ next youth theatre programme, How Do you Judge a Book?

Another Anthos Arts participant is a care-leaver, who has experienced difficulties within formal educational settings. Arts Award enabled her to consider how she would like to learn and also record the learning process and the student was able to enjoy learning without fear of ridicule or formal assessment.


‘Arts Award shines light on how the arts are socially and personally rewarding and educationally valuable. The arts provokes entrepreneurial skills, socially-engaging themes and is therapeutic; the development of a portfolio can shine light on the way individuals learn and interact differently, and can be applied to educational and work-based interviews. Arts Award provides a legacy of participation in the arts long after the project is over.’

Emma-Rose Payne, Arts Award adviser, Anthos Arts

‘During the week at school I was always looking forward to going to Anthos. The Bronze Arts Award was a way of getting something extra from Anthos, I felt like it would be silly to not do it. I'm really glad I completed my Arts Award with Anthos because it was very enjoyable.’

Rory Irwin (young person) achieved a Bronze Arts Award as a result of his engagement in Anthos Arts' project, Wings in the Way

‘Doing the Silver Arts Award has given me knowledge of processes involved in direction and planning, timetabling and evaluating, plus presentation. It has given me understanding of decision making, self reflection and responsibility. I enjoyed being the main facilitator for a small school staged self scripted play, where I helped manage all ages and abilities... Since adding Arts Award to my CV I have had interest from a London agent. I am ready to start this school year and face my GCSEs.’

Blaise Oldham, youth theatre participant, Silver Arts Award achiever

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