VCSE Community Support Hub: East Riding
Sharing positive community action. Enter site


East Riding Theatre Ltd


10 Lord Roberts Road
East Riding of Yorkshire
HU17 9BE

Charity Commission details

Email :


Telephone number:

01482 874050

Volunteering details:

East Riding Theatre Ltd

Summer School Programme for Young People

ERT is committed to the engagement of young people and development of local talent within an accessible and inclusive environment. Through our bursary programme, ERT's Summer schools will provide opportunities for talented young people to hone and develop skills, gain confidence and benefit from experience of a working theatre.

Funded to date: £12,180
£0 needed to reach goal of £7,850
155% funded
Finished on 28-02-2020


Run by volunteers, including Artistic Director (AD) Adrian Rawlins ERT is a professional theatre and registered charity receiving/producing 220+ performances per annum including drama, new musicals, new writing, music & comedy. ‘Good People’ & ‘Art’ challenged audiences with plays previously produced in London. Beryl & Chippy, featuring Northern voices & local settings, grew ERT’s reputation as a community-driven theatre that attracts new audiences with accessible work representing local lives. As an unsubsidised professional theatre, with roots embedded within the community, East Riding Theatre is managed by a non-executive Board and community volunteers.  We are committed to the development and support of local, young talent through community led projects aimed to increase awareness of the performing Arts in young participants as performers, back-stage technicians & stage managers, audience members or future volunteers. 


We aim to secure funds towards ERT’s summer schools for three-years, enabling us to extend the current programme, maintain the high quality of our existing summer schools and to increase bursary places for dedicated students from lower income backgrounds encouraging diversity and opportunities for all.


In the region, facilities to experience pre drama school level opportunities are unaffordable to many talented, young people wishing to study for careers in the creative industry.  There are even fewer opportunities for backstage/technical experience for young people within a working theatre environment. Since 2016, ERT's Summer schools for 15-21year olds have delivered high quality courses run by working industry professionals, bringing opportunities for students to engage in drama, musical theatre, technical theatre or backstage experience within a working theatre.  We aim to secure provisions for a three-year funding programme to ensure bursary places are made available for talented students from lower income backgrounds to encourage diversity and opportunities for all. 


The advantage of training within a working theatre environment, whether to increase confidence or to develop young theatre makers, offers students an insight into Arts venues as working environments. ERT has delivered summer schools for drama and musical theatre students since 2016, to hone skills, to encourage students to become more self-aware by challenging fear, to promote generosity whilst working in a group, and to commend courage. In 2019 we introduced a technical theatre course led by industry specialists.  The high quality of ERT’s summer schools is enhanced by working industry professionals benefitting young people with exposure to first-hand knowledge of theatre practice and vast experience of a competitive industry.  Our Equality policy includes encouragement of participants currently unrepresented in onstage and in backstage roles where a large number of industry job opportunities are  available for trained practitioners. We are doing this to benefit talented, low income students by offering 50% of the places on the Summer schools as bursaries places to those who could not otherwise afford to attend. 


A dedicated coordinator will be responsible for each stage of the process, from recruitment of bursary applicants through to the evaluation of the completed summer schools, ensuring procedures are fully executed throughout the process and outcomes recorded and evaluated. Participants will be encouraged to complete a diary entry for each day, following the procedures used in drama schools. Creative video blogs made by the students to mark their progress will be used through exploration of digital evidence. By filming students’ responses to the courses, we will gain evaluative and accessible evidence to attract sponsorship for future summer schools. All funders will be invited to the show and we will invite potential sponsors to attend.  Vox Pox post show audience and funders’ responses on Facebook will publicly promote outcomes via live feeds. Audience feedback surveys will be emailed after the final showcase. We will create an attractive information pack, including the film, using evaluative evidence. These will be sent to ERT’s database, potential sponsors and funders to attract further support. We will look at a subscription scheme for ERT audiences who may be willing to contribute a regular amount of funding towards the Summer schools. ERT will use outcomes to inform an application to Arts Council England to engage in a community play 2021 offering opportunities to selected performers & backstage participants from the Summer school to work with a professional creative practitioners. 


W.A. Horncastle Charitable Trust’s donation for 2020-2023 enables us to offer 2 bursaries on the drama course and 1 on musical theatre.  We wish to increase the bursaries leading to 50% of bursary places in all areas. This additional Funding for 2020-2023 would enable ERT to plan over a longer period and equip us with the tools to future proof the sustainability of the courses through expansion of the Summer school programme raising awareness of industry careers for young people whilst championing diversity through engagement of low income and BAME students via an open and accessible recruitment process.


As a dedicated performance venue, ERT is equipped with an excellent stage, a state-of- the- art lighting rig, good sound system, wardrobe department and prop store enabling us to offer young people industry experiences within a fully operational working theatre.  We will hire a local hall for dance sessions on 4 mornings during the Musical Theatre week to facilitate adequate practice space.


The Drama and Musical Theatre courses will each engage 20 students and the technical course will engage 10.  We wish to attract at least 50% lower income and BAME students to increase diversity and enrich our summer programme.  We will engage people through a fair and transparent process contacting local secondary school teachers to identify suitable applicants who may benefit from a bursary place. We have links with ERYC’s adult learning and will collaborate with them to engage young adults 21 years and under.  Invitations to locally based bursary applicants will be placed on Get into Theatre website, on social media pages and through an email campaign to ERT’s 6000 database encouraging BAME students to apply. Access support will be clearly offered on all publicity. Beginning at the application process, audition interviews will follow industry guidelines introducing students to professional standards. Access support will be provided where needed and all interviews will be welcoming and relaxed, with industry professionals seeking potential and commitment rather than experience. All students will be contacted with the outcome, and constructive positive feedback will be provided regardless of the result. Via our website, email campaigns, in-house posters, local publications and on social media, we will encourage students with personal stories from past Summer school students who benefitted from appearing in ERT in-house productions as community ensemble cast - some of whom made professional debuts on ERT’s stage. Others have been accepted to top drama schools such as RADA, made TV appearances and found employment in backstage roles. Another graduate received Spotlight entry after 5 professional performaces at ERT and has recently been signed by a London agent.


The two-week Summer schools will engage holistically ensuring students benefit from a choice of drama and musical theatre, or ‘behind the scenes’ elements of technical theatre resulting in a public showcase of work by drama and musical theatre performers operated by technical theatre and backstage students. Andy Johnson’s Drama Summer School takes place in week 1 culminating in a ‘sharing’ performance to family and friends. The students are encouraged to return at the end of the summer schools to perform their piece in the first half of the final show. This intensive skills-based course develops acting techniques and explores different types of theatre and stagecraft. The week is made up of a series of workshops including: an introduction to stage combat, voice work, physical theatre, audition techniques in preparation for interviews at Drama Schools. 

In week 2, the Musical Theatre Summer School offers a ‘stepping-stone’ between school and professional Performing Arts training. Led by working Musical Theatre industry professionals, students are challenged to create a brand-new piece of theatre within a week including snippets from over 15 different musicals, all of different styles and genres. The week includes dance training, singing technique, acting through song, 2 clowning workshops and devising. Students will come away with experience in learning new material quickly and efficiently, developing characters and narratives from scratch and stamina to sing, dance and act all at the same time.  

The Technical Theatre Summer School is an introduction to the production roles that support the creation of a theatre performance. Initially it provides an overview of the various technical areas and how they integrate, students then participate in a series of workshops which provide skills in stage management, sound design and engineering, lighting design and operation. Based upon their interests students are then able to choose a specific role and apply their learning to a real performance during the final show at the end of the course enabling participants to engage in a real production process with the challenge of the deadline of a public performance. 


Promotional material will be sent to schools and colleges advertising the course at the beginning of  the Summer term. Posters and flyers will be distributed around the region by ERT volunteers. The course and the final public performance will be advertised to ERT’s database of 8000 customers via an electronic version of our seasonal brochure, and targeted email campaign.  A promo film featuring past students will be also be sent to ERT’s database. 12,000 hard copies of our seasonal brochure will be distributed across the region via Info Direct to attract a wider audience as possible.  The students will ‘take over’ ERT’s social media for a day to promote the show. To reinforce the importance of marketing, the students will be encouraged to hand out flyers to the public.  We will place adverts in Just Beverley and Beverley Life, offering free editorial which will be used to promote the courses via stories from past students. All publicity will feature funders’ logos including ERT's website. ERT’s Partnership with local schools/ERVAS 'volunteens'/East Riding College,Hull Univeristy/St Marys College, Hull/Northern Lights Stage school will discuss mutual advertising opportunities including promotion of the course. 


Andy Johnson - actor, director, drama teacher and author of The Excellent Audition Guide, leads the Drama School course. Andy has worked in London Drama schools for 30 years including Mountview Academy of Performing Arts, East 15 and Middlesex University. He has assisted over 400 students to get into top drama schools including RADA, LAMDA, Bristol, Guildhall, Mountview and Drama Centre. Drama Coach/Coordinator for courses, Annie Kirkman trained at Mountview Academy of Performing Arts graduating with a First-Class degree in Musical Theatre. Annie is a member of East Riding Theatre’s Company in Residence She Productions.   

The Musical Theatre course is led by Choreographer, Neil Fisher, who was formerly senior lecturer at Manchester Met and LIPA, Head of Dance at Hurtwood House and is now a movement director working mainly in independent schools. Musical Director, Nathan Dawes, is a West End composer and performer who works on ensemble and individual musical arrangements as well as accompanying performers on the piano. He has just completed music for Qdos’ flagship production at the London Palladium for the fourth successive year featuring Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and more besides! He continues work with Guildford School of Acting & Hurtwood House. 

Professional vocal coach, Sarah Stephenson will work on individual and group voices to improve vocal technique. Sarah was Head of Vocal Studies at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts for six years, where she designed and delivered the vocal curriculum for the music department, and was also responsible for developing and delivering the vocal programme for the Actor Musician course at Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance. She has worked at some of the country’s leading performance colleges including; the Guildford School of Acting, Doreen Bird College, Trinity College of Music, Drama Studio London, Mountview, and is a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths University, teaching students on the popular music course. Annie Kirkman will assist by teaching individual and collective ‘acting through song’ workshops and assist. 

James from Clown Space will lead two clowning workshops involving Introduction to Clowning & Delving Deeper using theatrical clowning, mask work and embodying a sense of presence that breaks down the fourth wall

The Technical Theatre Course will be led by John Merrylees (former Head of Drama at York St John Uni, and original stage manager for Hull Truck). Designer, Simon Bedwell, will provide an insight into technical theatre culminating in students running the final evening show. Sound engineer, Ray Williams, trained in broadcasting and sound engineering with the BBC during his years of presenting the BBC North-East Region show "Great Northern Folk". He set up his own recording facility, producing albums for No Master's Voice and Topic Records, amongst other record labels, and involving location recording in the Netherlands and Transylvania.  Meanwhile he engineered a variety of BBC outside broadcasts, including several years at Sidmouth Festival for BBC Radio 2's "Folk On Two", and concerts by the Humphrey Lyttelton and George Melly bands for BBC Radio Manchester. 

Volunteer management staff will be involved in marketing, running the venue and the parent & public performances.


ERT has managed large projects from its inception in 2014, when the theatre was set up and the building renovated all within the space of 10 months at a total cost of £30,000.  The first Christmas production was performed and sold out establishing ERT as a viable enterprise. Since then, we have continued to manage complex budgets without subsidised funding. We have received 3 Arts Council project grant funds that we have manged and evaluated effectively to ACE. The three-year funding would support ERT by providing time for us to build a sustainable plan with which we can approach businesses and encourage them to help us sustain and improve our summer school shows for future generations to benefit.  Although benefit of advertising opportunities is attractive to businesses, our experience has shown how local stories are instrumental to attracting sponsors. ERT will gather evidence to identify achievements and improvements on a yearly basis. We will harness these outcomes, use the knowledge to inform a portfolio of the individual stories they represent, and attract businesses through a personal approach. We have a dedicated volunteer who works on business and corporate development. She will look at ways to optimise sponsor opportunities including corporate events evenings for businesses and funders.

Reg Number: 06455490 | Charity Number: 1125856