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Forest Forge Theatre Company has been delivering high quality Creative Learning projects for the past 30 years.
This is our work in communities outside of formal education and includes life-long learning. Our Creative Learning Team work with groups of any age, culture and ability from around the region to explore a cross art- form approach to theatre.
We tailor workshops, projects and residencies for each group and respond to the participants' needs and desires in creating theatre. We often collaborate with other organisations in funding or delivering the work, using artists and practitioners who are expert in their field.
Current Projects include:
Act Your Age!
Act Your Age! is a Forest Forge drama group for adults over 55 that explores themes of identity, place, belonging and change in a series of lively weekly sessions. With the guidance of Forest Forge workshop leaders, sessions cover a wide range of theatre and performance skills, including character development, improvisation, movement and storytelling. Act Your Age! members are welcomed into the Forest Forge community and, alongside the practical sessions, get the exclusive opportunity to meet visiting actors and sit in on professional rehearsals.
A Local Hospice
Forest Forge has been running a weekly drama session at a local hospice since 1997. The sessions offer patients the chance to work together and be inspired and invigorated. The sessions allow the individual to ‘play’ and ‘create’ in a way they may not have done for years, which is a real liberation for them. The work increases self-esteem and confidence at a time in many of their lives when they may be feeling worn out and of little use to society.
We have many wonderful examples of this work, including one participant describing the workshops as “a chance to remove the straitjacket”.
Forest Forge is currently running a free drama club for young people from a local traveller community in the New Forest. The club gives children and young people the chance to learn about drama, see performances and work towards Arts Awards.
Hidden Identities is funded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation.
Breaking the Fall
Forest Forge is now developing the second stage of this project after a very successful fist stage.
Stage one of Breaking the Fall was a reminiscence project based in Fordingbridge. The project worked with elderly members of the community, celebrating the history of the town through reminiscence and storytelling, exploring the issues of isolation and loneliness and the effects falling and the fear of falling in the elderly.
After a seies of reminiscence workshops in the community, a short play was written using peoples stories and memories of life in Fordingbridge. The resulting play, 'Falling for you', was performed to the workshop participants and local residents.
The first stage of funding for Breaking the Fall was funded by the Fordingbridge Nursing Aids Trust. Forest Forge is now seeking further funding to take the play on a tour to community venues such as care centres and village halls, to spread awareness and prevention tips on falling.
Recent/Past Projects Include:
Forest Forge Tots - Weekly creative theatre workshops for children under 5 and their parents, to encourage a sense of play and develope imgaination.
Hampshire Welcomes The World - part of the 2012 London Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad, Foret Forge worked with partners in the New Forest to create a special event to celebrate Hampshire and the Olympics in the summer of 2012. The event was inspired by African storytelling and New Forest legends and included music, drama and performance.
Me and How Other People See Me - a special series of workshops on identity for children with autism ages 6 – 19, held during the easter holidays 2012. The sessions focused on each child’s individual identity and included drama games and theatre skills as well as an art project to create a representation of themselves. Me and How Other People See Me was made possible by funding from Hampshire County Council’s Short Breaks fund.
When We Were Thirty - a project for older people in the New Forest. In 2011 Forest Forge ran workshops in ten local residential homes, encouraging residents to think back to the year they turned thirty. The participants experiences were then written into a play, performed by three actors that then toured back to the homes for free. When We Were Thirty was funded by the Herbert and Peter Blagrave Foundation.
The Black Heritage Centre and Vedic Temple project - A project bringing together groups from the Black Heritage Centre and Vedic Temple in Southampton to create and present plays about their experiences of coming to the UK, funded by Age Concern UK
PUSH 3 - a project for young children and their parents or carers, encouraging them to learn about their local heritage and develop creative responses to heritage visits.
Wooden Tony - in 2010 and 2011 Forest Forge worked with children with autism and their families in a series of drama workshops. The sessions were led by writer Richard Conlon who developed what he heard into a new play called The Boy At The Edge of the Room that Forest Forge hopes to produce professionally soon.
Everyday Stories - a project working with ten community groups across the Forest, giving each group the opportunity to tell their story. The project culminated with a performance at Hanger Farm Arts Centre. It was funded by Awards for All.
Community events - Appearances by Forest Forge Youth Theatre and other groups at public events including the Ringwood Carnival, Festival and Christmas Parade.
For further information about our work in the community, or if you have a project idea you'd like to talk to us about, please get in touch.