Children’s theatre group look to get donations doubled

Young people perform in an East End Shed production. Pic: East End Shed

 East End Shed, an inclusive theatre group in Stepney is asking supporters to help triple their funds during the festive period as part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge.

The Big Give, a charitable organisation which showcases the work of smaller charities to philanthropists and donors, has selected East End Shed as one of 300 charities from across Britain who will have their fundraising efforts bolstered.

The theatre group works with children and young people up to the age of 16 in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in London.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Many of the children we work with at East End Shed face significant disadvantages.”

Since being accepted onto the challenge, East End Shed’s aim is to hit £2,000 in donations between December 6 and December 8. If they reach their target during these three days, a ‘Charity Champion’ selected by the Big Give will double the amount, awarding them a total of £4,000.

The group has struggled financially in the past, and was forced to close in 2008 when their main source funding was pulled. In 2009, creative director Ruth Brooks took over, and after securing a funding from security firm G4S, East End Shed re-opened with two regular weekly workshops.

In the three years following, the company has gone from strength to strength, culminating in their most recent performance at Oxford House Theatre in Bethnal Green.

Ellie Short, administrator and workshop leader for the group, said: “In May, both the children’s group and the youth theatre group performed pieces of original theatre as part of ‘Tales from the Crow’s Nest’.

“We devised both performances around the children and young people. It was great to take the children to such a brilliant theatre – especially because of things like having lights bulbs around the mirrors. The kids loved it, and it gave all of the adults a great excuse to dress up as well!”

Short said that the workshops have helped children and young people become more confident in other aspects of life.

Short said: “It’s really helped with their confidence and developed their creative ability. One parent said that her child’s performance at school had improved since the workshops. The children are amazing, and it’s great to see them become fully-fledged performers.

“It’s really exciting that we have been accepted onto the challenge. Since 2009, we have kept expanding and this is another new step, especially as we are a very small charity.”

To donate to East End Shed click here.

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