North West Playhouse Centre (commonly known as the Playhouse) is a multi disciplinary Art Centre that provides a year round programme of Performance Arts (Theatre, Music, Opera and Comedy) and a wide range of Educational Projects.
We where the first Theatre in Northern Ireland to win the prestigious TMA / Stage Magazine - Special Achievement in regional Theatre Award 2004, and we where first Art Centre in Northern Ireland to gain Open College Network accredited centre status.
In a typical year we provide host more then 150 nights of theatre, opera, music comedy, dance and children's entertainment to audiences of over 10,000 people, and help approximately 250 achieve Open College Network qualifications in the arts.
Our Educational work uses the arts to achieve personal and social change, and a significant amount of work is undertaken with Disabled People. The Playhouse is the full time base for our group of 20 adults with learning difficulties and care workers. A full time arts training programme is provide for this group including Open Collage Network accredited training in Theatre, Visual Arts, Music and Dance/ Movement. The group have performed a number of plays including a specially adapted version of Mc Beth by Shakespeare and plays focusing on disability rights and local issues to combine theatre, music and movement.
The Playhouse also provides outreach educational services for a number of disabled groups including Mental Health, Children with Learning Difficulties and Complex Medical Needs, and Adults with a Range of Disabilities including Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Physical and Sensory Disabilities. Both accredited and non accredited arts training are provided.
The Playhouse is based in Derry/ Londonderry in Northern Ireland witch is ranked the third most deprived Local Government District in Northern Ireland. 23 of words making up Derry City Council are in the top 200 most deprived wards in Northern Ireland, and 74% of Derry's total population live in those wards. Within this project Playhouse will: 1) contribute to the exploration of developmental initiatives for disabled people (including accredited educational training, employment, life transitions, arts / personal development) and public policies using UK context as a reference; 2) provide a venue for a range of conferences / meetings. The Board of The Playhouse has expertise in the fields of Law, Property Development, Financial Management, Education, Arts Development, Community Development, and Community Relations. The Board meets every two months.
The Playhouse employs 20 full time and part time staff including artistic, administrative, educational, technical and hospitality personnel who are responsible for devising, planning, financing, delivering & evaluating the annual programme. Key executive staff includes Artistic Director, General Manager, Fundraising & Marketing Officer, Financial Manager & Head of Education. This project will be incorporated into existing Playhouse structures, and we will allocate a senior member of management staff to oversee the project and be responsible for its effective delivery.
The Playhouse has a nineteen-year track record of using the arts to promote positive Community Relations change. This was recognised at the highest level when Pauline Ross, Playhouse Artistic Director was awarded an MBE during 2001 for her services to the Arts & Communities in N. Ireland.
The Playhouse has delivered long term educational and training projects with ‘hard to reach’ groups such as prisoners, long term unemployed, homeless, disabled, and offenders in partnership with statutory and community sector groups. Such projects have used Open College Network accredited arts activity to improve qualities such as self confidence, esteem, cross community interaction amongst Catholics and Protestants, essential skills literacy & numeracy, motivation, creativity and employability. We also work internationally, and have relationships with artists who work in post conflict situations in other parts of the world, including Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, El Salvador and Israel / Palestine, who share their experiences with local artists and community workers in Northern Ireland.
We have delivered several projects with partners throughout Europe. We have successfully administered funds from, among others, EU Peace II & Peace III, EU Grundtvig, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department for Social Development, Community Relations Council, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, and NI Executive Funds. The Playhouse recently delivered a £4.6m redevelopment of its premises. During the project ELLA we are part of the working-package “Private Life Concepts”.