Case Study: Full House Theatre

Case Study: Full House Theatre

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018

Full House Theatre is an arts-based charity in Bedfordshire and delivers a range of education and outreach projects for children and young people. Their projects are with a variety of groups, from school programmes and after school sessions to holiday projects or partnership projects with local community groups.

Full House Theatre have been delivering Arts Award for almost three years and they embed Arts Award into all their participatory projects ensuring they offer the most suitable level for the participants.

All of their core team are trained at various levels, which has allowed them to have a broad knowledge and understanding of Arts Award and has meant all team members seek to embed it into their projects wherever possible.


Full House Theatre have delivered a range of projects including with SEN groups, partnership projects with other cultural providers, a First World War project and supporting young people to develop employability skills. These projects have been delivered with a range of ages from 7 – 22 year olds.

In partnership with Bedford & District Cerebral Palsy Society (BDCPS), Full House Theatre delivered an Arts Award project with a group of eight young people over several weeks to create a new piece of devised theatre. The piece premiered in Luton before touring to Bedfringe and the International Youth Arts Festival. As part of the project all young people achieved an Arts Award, with six achieving Bronze and two achieving Discover. All the young people participating in the project had a range of additional needs, which meant that each section of the award was individually tailored. Most of the young people had individual carers supporting them in the sessions, who were also able to support with the Arts Award project.Full House Theatre Pic1

An example of how one of their young people, Ryan, completed his Bronze Arts Award is as follows:

For Part A (exploring the arts as a participant), Ryan took part in a range of performance workshops at a residential weekend including film, magic, hip hop dance and drama. As Ryan is unable to communicate fully through speech, different pictures and faces were shown to him for Ryan to identify what he enjoyed the most/least and why.

Ryan enjoyed a performance of Playing The Dream (an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Part B (exploring the arts as an audience member). A visual questionnaire was designed for Ryan to feedback about the event and share his thoughts. He was interviewed by a practitioner over the residential weekend to share his thoughts on the production with someone new.

Ryan’s arts inspiration (Part C) was Dynamo. Ryan chose Dynamo after seeing a magic show and participating in a workshop that made him want to learn more about magic. Ryan worked with a carer to research magic on the internet and watch clips on YouTube. Ryan then picked out his favourite facts about Dynamo and created a poster. This was shared with the rest of the participants to show what Ryan had learnt.

For Part D (arts skills share), Ryan chose to demonstrate a magic trick he had learnt as part of an earlier workshop. As this activity was very visual, it allowed Ryan to be able to share this skill with others.

For this project each young person was given a scrapbook to keep everything together in for their portfolio. Full House Theatre felt that the group really enjoyed having a portfolio to refer to each week and add to as they progressed with the award. They added photos and thoughts, planning and research. They also had a DVD with a film of the production and clips of them participating and sharing their thoughts.

For other projects young people have begun to explore blogs and Facebook pages to evidence their Arts Award activity.


Full House Theatre have noticed that young people develop confidence as well as a range of arts based skills through Arts Award activities. They have found that often partner organisations, parents and carers notice the difference the project has made to the participants; they are positive and confident about the project, enjoy sharing their experiences with others and having their voices heard.

Full House Theatre believes that Arts Award enables young people to take their own personal journeys, which is extremely important and beneficial to the individuals involved and ensures many of them wish to continue on their Arts Award journey.

Full House Theatre have found that Arts Award has had a particular impact on one of their participants, Charlotte, who recently completed her Silver Arts Award. Through the process she has felt that her confidence and self-esteem have developed and she wrote about it in her GCSE exam as an example of an experience which has changed her life. Through the project she was able to attend arts events that she would not have taken part in otherwise and was also invited to the Royal Opera House to be part of an ROH Bridge event. She is keen to begin her Gold Award and is now actively seeking out a range of opportunities locally to extend her arts knowledge and skills base.

‘Enabling us to offer a qualification not only adds benefit to those participating but also the partners and funders of our work. It ensures there are progression routes to follow once a project is completed, opening up lots of possibilities for the participants and us as an organisation.’ - Harriet Hardie, Arts Award adviser, Full House Theatre

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