acta is a Bristol based, community theatre charity, founded in 1985. They use theatre and creative arts to build confidence and community with marginalized groups and vulnerable people. ‘Everyone can be creative’ is one of acta's core beliefs, and is demonstrated by the wide-range of people that they engage with, especially in terms of age, ethnic diversity and societal need.
This is all made possible by a core staff team, consisting of 8 workers (6.5 FTE) and a select group of dedicated freelancers from a diverse range of backgrounds to whom provide ongoing support and training.
acta were the recipient of a Creative Business Grant Programme totalling £9,982.
The funding came along at a crucial time for acta Community Theatre, who had recently transitioned to new leadership and were desperate to provide more opportunities for their diverse artists following the difficult first year of the pandemic. With this grant the team could test out new methods of working with marginalised groups which in turn would allow them to access new audiences and future participants. All three individual project criteria directly aligned with acta's values and plans for the project would enable them to provide a range of opportunities for their staff and freelance associates whilst directly benefitting members of a marginalised community with an ongoing group.
Sara Snook, Creative Director said: "We are two thirds of the way through our grant funded project “Turn Up: Digital Audio Community Project with BAME Muslim Women & Girls”. The majority of the grant is being spent directly on workshop costs. Each week there are two workshops, one attended by a group of women from Bristol’s Somali Community and one attended by 11 Black Muslim Teenage Girls from both Somali and Sudanese backgrounds. Before workshops started, we invested over 20% of the grant in paid training opportunities for diverse artists working on this project and within their own diverse communities and the relevant tech for the groups to record."
“Taking part in this project has been really special- I think we all feel a bit more confident speaking up and speaking about the things that are important to us” Nasra, Turn Up participant (girls group).
The project has already contributed to the growth of acta's skills and experience, and will hopefully inspire the next generation of creatives from underrepresented backgrounds.
Acta is embarking on two new social enterprise initiatives with the aim of increasing earned income and creating further resources to enable them to carry out their core work. These initiatives are a Creative Wellbeing Café at their base in Bedminster and a creative business support programme for businesses and the corporate sector, facilitating and training them in creative skills and problem-solving.
Acta are part of the current cohort on the Creative Sector Growth Programme.
"The Combined Authority has been very supportive, which will help me to grow my partnerships with schools and to develop my own practice with different age groups. The grant has been essential in helping me to grow my business."