Community Creative Leadership Training
Community Creative Leader Training
Our innovative, empowering project was a chance to make real, positive change for individuals and our local communities – in a fun, creative and exciting way.
Launching in 2020, The Community Creative Leader Training project provided paid training and mentorship to potential leaders from the community in facilitation skills via a creative and participatory policy-making approach called Legislative Theatre. This community-led process wasis the result of a collaborative effort with the Community Leaders, facilitator Katy Rubin and their wider communities, and Union Chapel.
The Community Leaders have and continue to inform our work here at Union Chapel, from delivering community workshops with local groups to informing our forthcoming Sunday School Stories project, which will be a community co-created programme and space. To learn more about the future projects and getting involved in our Community Working Group, please email [email protected]. Watch this space for more soon…
“I feel this training would really be lifechanging for me and my community. I work with adults with multiple disadvantages including homelessness, addiction, offending history, and mental health. In addition to having a disability and mental health issues, I myself have experienced homelessness and addiction. I am very interested in using this training to encourage change in the way adults with complex needs are able to access health care” (Community Leader Feedback)
- Bring together people from across Islington - communities, the public, local charities and grassroots organisations, policy-makers from councils, businesses – to hear directly about the issues being faced, explore together solutions to those issues – and, then, eventually implement those co-created solutions to better support our communities
- Empower our Community Creative Leaders to lead more activities and programmes, here at Union Chapel and elsewhere, building our communities, and informing and co-produce our work into the future.
Importantly, the training was paid, and Community Leaders were also offered advice and crisis support if and when they needed it, at Union Chapel
March 2021: Two online workshops, a Legislative Theatre performance, and Legislative debate later – all facilitated and informed by the Community Leaders and the community audience - we engaged with and led Islington Council and Arts Council England to make firm policy and activity commitments regarding mental health and gender representation. Watch the full event here.
November 2021: Later in the year, our Community Leaders and Katy Rubin were invited to share and run a Legislative Theatre performance at the Co-Creating Change Network Festival at Battersea Arts Centre, alongside lots of arts and community groups. This led to a further 3 commitments from arts organisations.
November 2022: Changing The Rules Onstage: Legislative Theatre Facilitation Training | Saturday 5 November 2022 led by Katy Rubin. Digging deeper into a leading example of arts for social and systemic change. The sold out events were "creative, radical, inspiring, & genuinely change-making"
“At the start of the project, we studied Paulo Freire's book Pedagogy of the Oppressed and delved into the idea that in a community-based arts-for-social-change process, everyone present is both a student and a teacher. That is, the leaders are ready to learn, and the "learners" are also there to share their knowledge. I recognize how much I have learned from all of the Leaders in the cohort: about their facilitation styles, the communities they work with, their commitment to Islington and North London, and the way they have already adapted the Legislative Theatre methodology to their various art forms. I saw the cohort grow into a community of student-teachers: supporting one another with extra practice sessions; recognizing and celebrating each other's unique strengths; and planning for future partnerships before the project even ended. Indeed, they created an excellent play and engaged councillors and neighbours in a rigorous, theatrical policy-creation event; but more importantly, in my view, they built a network of facilitators who are deeply rooted in their communities and who work together generously. I am inspired by their commitment and cannot wait to see where they go next” (Katy Rubin)
“Well done – really engaging and thought provoking. Harness shared understanding and common ground – looking at the collective ‘we’, breaking down the them and us barriers” (Head of Housing, Islington Council)
“Great success and just the sort of dialogue that needs to be happening everywhere. All the issues that were explored are critical ones at the moment. I have been spending time over the last few years learning, working with others and advocating about a ‘relational’ shift in the way individuals experience the system and yesterday was one of the most powerful approaches that I have experienced” (Ken Kanu of Help On Your Doorstep)
“Everyone smashed it! From warming the audience up and making them laugh, to posing urgent and compelling questions with our play, to getting 2 great audience interventions, which inspired our audience to write 40+ policy proposals - and then holding our policy-makers accountable to action” (Katy Rubin)
In November 2021, the Union Chapel Community Leaders presented their original performance to the CoCreating Change Network Festival at the Battersea Arts Centre. Click here to read Community Leader Charlotte Watts' thoughts on the event and the outcomes.
Meet the Leaders
My name is LaToyah Gill, and I am an artist and curator who has enjoyed producing many independent, multidisciplinary productions that have leaned toward socio-political themes. After ten years working within the arts, I decided to return to university to study a Graduate Diploma in Law and to specialise in intellectual property. I have since set up an organisation called Untamed Artists, which represents, showcases, and preserves the work of independent artists, and am currently working on a three-month virtual artists' refuge project called The Salon.
Being a strong advocate of authentic art, that which documents profound moments that affect society and offers alternative perspectives, I welcome the opportunity United Chapel has given me to learn about Legislative Theatre and I look forward to putting these valuable skills into practice.
My name is Charlotte Watts and I make Visual Art and Performance under the alias Charlotte CHW. I am passionate about the arts as a form of personal and political expression and its potential to enact real change. Art can also give a voice beyond words and be an amazing source of therapy. I have been a freelance and contract Arts Facilitator and tutor for almost 10 years and have been involved in drama and performance on and off since I was a child. In recent years I have particularly enjoyed being involved in some immersive theatre work including with Twin Peaks Festival UK in 2019. I currently work in the Homelessness sector. There is still a lot of work to be done in the way people are supported and I think Legislative Theatre has potential to be instrumental in developing change.
I have had ongoing battles with mental health, trauma and disability in my life and am passionate about providing better support and rights to those who suffer a combination of diagnoses in particular. I recently finished a year as a Disabled Members Officer on the Greater London Community and Voluntary Organisation UNISON branch and brought a keen eye for accessibility to this training.
My goal over the next few years is to start an arts community for female identifying people with chronic and degenerative illness.
My name is David Olapoju. Although I am an actor, I have previously worked with [NICE] National institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, identifying and managing tuberculosis for the hard to reach. I have also previously worked in peer education with Find and Treat and TB Alert. I have always had an interest in marginal communities working with substance misuse, health and homelessness. It's funny how I have been previously casted as homeless characters in theatre productions and played a minor role in Owain Astle’s film ‘Sleeping Rough’. As Legislative Theatre evolves, it’s potential to help marginal communities with theatre is truly exciting. Training as a community leader with Union Chapel is an amazing opportunity.
Being part of Union Chapel’s Legislative Theatre program is a source of great joy for me. Legislative theatre feels like it has a part to play in the everyday struggle to make the world better by creating more unity and fairness. It directly confronts the question of oppression, creating space for all of us, on all sides of the cube, to live a bit more completely through the awareness of social issues that result from engaging in Legislative Theatre.
But, I may not have gotten fully involved if it wasn't for the super fun games the sessions include! I skipped away from the taster session feeling so exhilarated and I really want to share this feeling as I go forward and facilitate sessions at the end of the program.
Lastly, I absolutely love everyone involved in Legislative Theatre! It’s been great getting to know them and spending time as part of such a brilliant group of people in my local area. I look forward to working a lot more together in future.
Born in Portland Jamaica, I grew up as a 7-day Adventist and I came to London 2000. Even though I don't go to church now, I still believe God is real. I'm a chef who is proud of my work experience, I've worked at some of the most high-end places in London. I'm a tech fanatic, music lover, quads skater & Ps4 gamer. I'm currently working as a Community Leader because I want to do something new and different from being in the kitchen. I also want to meet new people. My crazy life has given me a different perspective of the world.
Sasha has taught and directed theatre all over the world. Since returning to London in 2016 she has worked with the Young Vic Neighborhood Theatre, the RebElders of Southwark Playhouse and is an active member of Cardboard Citizens, the theatre company for people who have lived experienced of homelessness. She was part of the actors ensemble in Here For Life, (2019) directed by Andrea Luka Zimmerman and Adrian Jackson. She is currently in a production at the Orange Tree in Richmond.
Cristina is an interdisciplinary artist who graduated in Fine Arts at Complutense University of Madrid in 2009. With a special interest in visual storytelling, she moved to London to complete her Masters in Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martin.
While there, Cristina explored new ways to engage with audiences through digital scenography and communal participation, all while dedicated to sustainable design and construction.
Upon her post-graduation, she continued her practice as Art and Theatre facilitator, exploring Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with several communities, organisations and practitioners as well as with international theatre and art festivals.
Her personal life experiences have made her resilient, and helped forge her identity as a disabled “artivist”. As an "artivist", Cristina uses her artistic talents to fight against injustice and oppression through any medium necessary. She merges a commitment to freedom, justice and sustainability with the pen, the lens, the brush, voice, body, and –especially- the imagination.
Cristina believes that to make an observation is to have an obligation. She likes to quote Augusto Boal who said: “Theatre is a mirror in which one can reach in to change reality and to transform it."
She welcomes the opportunity that Union Chapel has given her to be part of the Community Creative Leader Programme, and she is looking forward to helping the community to grow even stronger.