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News: Smoke And Mirrors project launched at Sunderland Empire
ATG And Wicked Use The Power Of
Theatre To Support Thousands Of Young People Through Anti-Bullying And Social
‘Smoke And Mirrors’ Following Launch
At Sunderland Empire
what can be achieved when powers combine for the good? A collaboration between
the award-winning West End Musical, Wicked and global leader in live theatre,
the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has seen two powers join forces to tackle
the poignant subject of social media and bullying.
Group of Young People from the Smoke and Mirrors Project - Photo: ATG
line from the award-winning production, ‘everyone deserves the chance to fly’
has been at the forefront of ‘Smoke And Mirrors’, a UK wide programme of
locally driven projects with national significance, that seek to meaningfully
and creatively raise awareness of issues around social media and bullying.
operates over 50 venues worldwide, including the Sunderland Empire and the ‘Smoke
And Mirrors’ project which has been running across 2018/2019, initially launched
at Sunderland Empire in September 2018. The project has been focussed on
raising the awareness of diversity, difference and how theatre brings people
together, whilst utilising synergy with the storyline and themes of global hit,
WICKED. To date over 2,450 children and young adults across the UK venues have
been supported and it is envisaged that thousands more will be reached
indirectly through social media sharing and impact by the time the project ends
in Spring 2019.
Hope, Creative Learning & Community Partnerships Manager, Sunderland Empire
said: “We were extremely excited and privileged to have launched this project
in Sunderland and it has been great to see impact it has had on participants
over the duration of the project. The themes of WICKED are particularly
resonant with young people today and the production expresses these in such an
inspirational and accessible way.
Wicked star Sophie Evans - Photo Matt Crockett
As part of
the project we worked with young people from across Sunderland to explore the
themes of social media and bullying and how, this effects young people on a
daily basis. Our Youth Theatre group were the first to connect with the project
whilst Wicked was here in September 2018 and they have benefited from an
inspired programme including weekly workshops, master classes and creative
writing sessions to support the creation of their own film highlighting the
pros and cons of social media.”
Mirrors is the first of ATG’s Creative Learning and Community Partnerships new
Annual Nationwide Initiative, as part of a reinvigorated programme launched in
Spring 2018 bringing together UK teams around a specific subject and challenge.
national project is led by a group of dedicated Creative Learning and Community
Partnership teams who are based in ATG’s venues across the UK (including
Sunderland, Glasgow, Liverpool, Stoke, Milton Keynes, Brighton, Richmond and
London’s West End).
of social media and bullying have been addressed through working together with
and in support of Wicked, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and a range of important
local partners across the UK, to create an artistic led programme around these
pertinent themes, engaging children and young adults in their local areas,
cumulating in an evocative film that captures the voice and perspectives of participants
across the UK.
McCabe, UK Executive Producer, Wicked said: “We are incredibly proud to be able
to support and champion the Ambassador Theatre Groups inspiring national
project, particularly as it mirrors our own long-standing commitment to raising
the profile of the devasting effects of bullying in schools and society. We
hope that all of the young people who take part enjoy this fantastic
opportunity to freely and safely express themselves and share their experiences
and ideas in order to address that bullying in any form is not acceptable.”
extensive UK and Ireland tour of WICKED ended in January 2019 and continues to
wow audiences at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London. A number of the project
participants have had the opportunity to see the WICKED when on tour to their
local theatre alongside embracing the project through workshops, talks and
Coxon, Head of UK Creative Learning & Community Partnerships, Ambassador
Theatre Group said: “This exciting project has seen young people from areas
across the UK engage creatively with their theatres to address the prominent
and important topic of social media and bullying.
is firmly at the heart of what we do, and we are delighted that our teams have
worked with local partners across the UK, Anti-Bullying Alliance, as well as Wicked
when on tour and in London, alongside their fantastic learning team on this
national project. The synergy between the theme of the project and Wicked has
and will continue to provide incredible opportunities to inspire and inform the
experiences of the local young people who engage with this project.
incredible creative learning work, aims to engage a diverse range of
participants to connect with their local theatre; nurturing the next generation
of theatre makers and contributing towards building the audiences of the