Welcome to our Charity Spotlight — a monthly feature that gives charities, churches, furniture re-use centres and other organisations the chance to share more information about what they do, how they do it and their achievements. This month, we have the pleasure of introducing Half Moon Young People’s Theatre to you.

Half Moon Charity Spotlight

What does your charity organisation do?
Half Moon Young People’s Theatre is a professional theatre based in Tower Hamlets, East London, providing drama for and with young people – in fact, last year we reached 50,000 people! We’re particularly engaged with young people who are often excluded from the arts, such as those from BME communities, deaf and disabled young people, or those excluded due to socio-economic circumstance.
We try and keep our ticket prices and youth theatre fees as low as possible, to ensure that price is not a barrier to participation. What’s even more exciting is that later this year we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary

How do you do it?

We have two main strands of activity. Firstly, we create professional theatre shows for young audiences, which we put on at our own theatre and also tour to other venues nationally. We also present shows by other companies in our theatre.
Secondly, we also have an extensive Creative Learning programme with six after school drama groups for children aged 5 to 18, including a special group for disabled teenagers. We deliver a diverse range of schools projects – for example GCSE Drama projects and a work experience programme – but we can help with other areas of the curriculum, such as teaching maths or literacy through drama.

Why do you do what you do?
Drama is a powerful tool for learning and engaging in the arts can enhance someone’s life. Many young people think the arts is not for them, so we present work that is developed with them and is accessible and relevant to them.

What is the hardest challenge your charity faces?

The economic crisis is proving a challenge, as it is to everyone in the charitable sector! Cuts to government and local authority funding mean that trusts and foundations – our main fundraising sources – are receiving more grant applications than ever before.
We have a few individuals who give us small donations, but we don’t have any contacts with major donors, who might be able to help us make a real difference. If you know any, let us know!

What is your biggest achievement so far?

We’ve just finished a £1m capital project to repair and renovate our beautiful Victorian building and it is now a stunning place to work in and for people to visit. What’s more, I’m proud to say that we managed to deliver the project on budget – and more or less on time – without having to cancel anything or cut any corners. We managed it in-house without taking on any additional staff, so that was quite a feat! It was worth all the hard work though, as every day when I see the building it makes me smile.

What is the best part of being an organisation like yours?

Seeing the achievements, joy and creativity of the children and young people.

Do you have any tips for other organisations which you think they might find useful?
My top tip is to start your day by doing the things you really don’t want to do. Once it’s done, the day gets better! Sadly, I can’t say I always follow my own tip…

Where can we find more information about you?

Take a look at our website, www.halfmoon.org.uk, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

If you are a charity, church, furniture re-use centre or any other not-for-profit organisation and would like to be featured on our website give us a call on 01206 760780 or email [email protected]