Despite continued ill judged cutbacks within state schools in the UK drama still plays an important part within the education curriculum and in the lives of many who find the joys of acting and performance and the personal self confidence it can bring.
Act4ward is set to encourage drama for confidence , introduce it sometimes for the first time as a serious fun activity and build upon the results.
My experience within autism and allied "invisiable" special needs allows understanding of how drama can build as a positive force in this sector, but in truth I work with all abilities, and there is a no rquirement to have autism to be involved.
Unlike many weekend drama schools or class work act4ward is not governed by constantly playing it safe in drama - the level of work depends on the individual.
The play Lord of the Flies is no longer encouraged in schools due to it's violence and exclusive male casting - and because boys may perform shirtless - and yet it is one of the most popular options on act4ward, and one of the most effective at confidence building. This was a play I was introduced to at school and later directed myself within schools.
Drama allows freedom of thought and set plays like An Inspector Calls whilst certainly classic rarely fire the imagination within schools.
The use of improvisation can, with guidance be both very productive and rewarding.
The discovery in my work over the years is just how much talent is out there if the opportunity to perform is given and encouraged. Many who began at 10 with just a flicker of interest have gone on to make an acting career from their talent.
But whilst the support is there for those who are heading for the industry, act4ward in conjuction with The Halfling Project uses drama just for fun and self discovery with those who can benefit from it
The age range [not set in stone] is 8-16 - Halfling Project /act4ward combined
The whole concept of act4ward is to be simple and informal in it's approach working at the speed of the individual be it solo or in a group.
The first meeting is free on the open work terms - after this an offer may be made to continue working within the open series - but places are few so not available to all.
Others may continue on alternative terms.