Volunteering with Crooked House Theatre Company under the European Solidarity Corps programme

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ESC 8: Acting for Change - 01/09/2021 to 31/08/2022

For enquiries: crookedhouse.applications@gmail.com

Current deadline: 15th March 2021

Introduction: Who is it for?


Acting for Change is a solidarity project based in Newbridge, Ireland for young actors aged between 22 and 30. It aims to train actors in the process of drama facilitation so that they can enhance their employability by gaining valuable new skills. The project, therefore, is aimed at young actors who have either trained or gained experience of working in the theatre sector. It is particularly suited for those who are finding it difficult to get sustainable employment on their own countries, and who would like to develop and practice the vocational skill of drama facilitation.


Acting for Change is a 12-month volunteer programme. Participants will arrive in Ireland in the first week of September 2021. The project ends in the final week of August 2022.


Who do we volunteer with?


While participating on this project, volunteers will engage with teenagers aged 11 to 20. Crooked House works with young people who come to our centre for drama workshops and to make theatre projects. We also work with young people in the community, where we go to give workshops (eg to schools and youth clubs).


In our centre we offer drama workshops, we devise plays, and we rehearse work for performance. The young people come to separate workshops, each one tailored to their age and interests. Workshops are in the evening time and at weekends. There are between 16 and 26 young people in each workshop. Therefore, a lot of the volunteering activity happens in evenings and at week-ends.

Crooked House also visits youth clubs, schools and youth projects where we deliver either once-off drama workshops, or more usually, 10-week drama projects. In all of these cases the drama work focuses on helping the young people develop resilience, acquire performance skills, and re-learn the skills needed for active citizenship. We have published material online about how we think drama does this (and it can be accessed here: http://www.kildareyouththeatre.com/reading-room). You can also read about it, and the type of drama activities that we do, on the Drama for Youth Work website at www.dramaforyouthwork.eu

What will we learn?


Our volunteers will learn about and practice drama facilitation. They will take part in theatre-making, learning how to perform in English alongside their Irish peers. They will learn how to direct plays and performances with young people. They will also learn about theatre project administration and project support.


In each case volunteers will ‘shadow’ or support professionals in the areas of drama facilitation, theatre directing, and project administration. They will take part in a full training programme on drama facilitation. They will be able to facilitate their own workshops and direct plays on their own, having spent some time observing, and then working (under supervision and support) to run workshops in pairs.


Project Activities


During the European Solidarity Corps placement the volunteers will take part in the following activities:


Activity One: Making a Performance with Young People


  1. Assist directors in youth theatre productions:

  2. learn about using drama with young people

  3. practice administration and organisation skills such as keeping attendance records, composing information letters for parents, updating the social media and website

  4. develop marketing skills by assisting in promoting the performances

  5. practice stage management abilities

  6. become aware of and gain knowledge in health and safety issues associated with rehearsal, workshop and performance.


Activity Two: Facilitating Drama Workshops with Young People


  1. Understand the theory and practice of facilitating drama

  2. Learn appropriate drama games and activities for use with young people

  3. Deepen knowledge about group dynamics and group development

  4. Understand how to structure and manage a workshop

  5. Find and support key learning moments in workshops for participants

  6. Understand and practice how to give enriched feedback to participants in a workshop

  7. Encourage participants with mixed-abilities to work together

  8. Plan and deliver their own short workshop programme

  9. Be supervised and receive feedback and support from experienced professional facilitators.

  10. Facilitate the young people in their developmental work (ie help them arrange their own projects and events). Here they will develop their organisational and logistical skills (such as planning, record keeping and accounting). They will also develop an understanding of peer-learning. They will learn about theories of youth work that focus on creating learning environments for young people that facilitate independent learning.

  11. Share their own skills with the young people – for example, if a volunteer practices yoga he/she could do a yoga workshop for the young people.

Activity Three: Youth Theatre Administration and Logistical Support


  1. Updating the website (being able to use wix.com);

  2. Writing and uploading blogs about their experience in Newbridge and in Ireland;

  3. Updating the social media sites for Kildare Youth Theatre and for Crooked House;

  4. Taking short films and uploading them to YouTube and to social media – these films promote the plays and the workshops;

  5. Helping to write reports in English about the projects we do, especially about the Erasmus+ projects;

  6. Archiving the material we have gathered over the years about Crooked House (this means ‘digitizing’ the old posters, files, documents and records of the company and keeping them safe).

  7. Understanding Erasmus+ and helping to design and apply for a project.

  8. Organise access to the building for groups when necessary. This task gives volunteers responsibility and helps them become aware of security, access, timetabling and administrative tasks associated with running a youth theatre. Part of this work is to clean the space once a week and to keep it tidy.

  9. Network and liaise with other agencies and youth projects in the community along with Crooked House staff and volunteers. This will broaden the cultural knowledge of volunteers and also give them an insight into Irish models of youth work and of youth theatre.

  10. Graphic design for logos, posters and communication material.


Activity Four: Training


  1. Attend theatre training and youthwork development courses provided by Crooked House. They will develop their knowledge here and learn how to apply theory to practice. All volunteers must also attend weekly Drama Facilitation Training in Crooked House (we train in Child protection issues, safety issues, and in Drama Facilitation).

  2. Attend On Arrival Training and other trainings from Leargas, the Irish national agency.

  3. Opportunities will be provided to apply for and attend training courses run by County Kildare Leader Partnership (in Youth Studies), Maynooth University, Youth Theatre Ireland and others. They will all be free to volunteers who are selected for these courses.


Activity Five: Performing


Perform along-side their Irish peers in devised and other performances for the public. This develops a range of skills and aptitudes including confidence, presence, problem-solving and collaboration abilities.

What kind of person are we looking for?

These are the criteria we used to select our volunteers:


This is a project for young actors.


- We ask for people who have training or extensive experience in performing in theatre.

- Volunteers should be aged 22 to 30.

- Volunteers should have initiative – i.e. they are able to start their own work

- Volunteers should be prepared for cold, dark and wet winters

- Volunteers should be able to work in flexible, changing, and organically structured environments.

- Volunteers should be able to work alone and in groups.

- Volunteers from outside the EU must obtain a visa to work here, and they must guarantee that they will adhere to the conditions of that visa.

- Volunteers must be vetted by the Irish police force, An Garda Siochána, before they can volunteer with us.

- We positively encourage young actors who have one or more of the following criteria to apply:

  • You are LGBTQI+

  • You are from a migrant background, or your family has migrated

  • You may be experiencing difficulties in your home society related to your beliefs, cultural identity, gender, religious background (including being atheist), or ethnicity

  • Your human rights are being denied or repressed

  • You are an actor from a neighbouring country to the EU.