News Story

Asphaleia is an organisation located in Worthing which offers young people a place of safety, supporting and encouraging those that need their services. In partnership with Asphaleia, CFT have been delivering weekly sessions for young unaccompanied asylum seekers based in West Sussex. Led by Poppy Marples and Jess Smith, our experienced theatre practitioners, they deliver a programme of dynamic, creative and nurturing workshops with these inspiring young people.

Workshops focus on wellbeing, building confidence, arts skills such as puppetry and physical theatre, and support the young people’s learning of English. These sessions enable them to make friends, develop confidence socially, build skills and have lots of fun. We currently work with 24 young people who are also completing a Bronze Arts Award in their sessions.

The sessions with Asphaleia are always full of lots of laughter and fun and provide a safe space for the young people to develop their skills. When I look back to our first session with this year’s cohort compared to now, the difference in their confidence, social and language skills is just incredible. I’m so proud of them all and it’s been a joy and privilege to work with them this year.

Poppy Marples, Lead Practitioner

In July we welcomed 17 of the Asphaleia group – including unaccompanied young people from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia – for a fun-packed day at CFT. Starting with a backstage tour with John from our Front of House team, they enjoyed a certificate of achievement presentation and games on the park before they watched a matinee of The Sound of Music. For almost all of the participants it was their first time in a theatre and was a very special day.

Here are just a few of the comments from the young people themselves about their experiences throughout the sessions:

What does drama help with?

Helps me a lot, I am more confident and it helps me get rid of my anxiety.

Learning English, respecting each other and feeling strong in my mind.

Helped me be more confident, helped me with communication and helped me make friends.

Drama makes me feel…

Happy because to meet lovely people.

Sometimes I am angry because I miss my family, Poppy asks how I feel and talking helps, drama makes me feel better.

Good, because it is nice to talk and ask questions.

When did you feel proud of yourself in drama?

I am proud we have learnt all together and enjoyed no matter what country.

I felt proud in drama when I spoke in front of everyone in English.

I felt proud in drama when I became the teacher, people listened to me and had fun.

It's been a pleasure to have the group here with us at the Theatre. A big thank you to our practitioners, everyone at Asphaleia, our participants and our project supporters Nick and Lalli Draper and everyone supporting our Light a Spark campaign.