Theatre changed my life.
I went from being a shut-in near-mute who was scared of just about everyone to wanting to run drama sessions for quite large groups of total strangers. I think that says it all.
We know this from our own personal experiences and observations, but also from research that shows how participation in drama and performing arts activities can improve mental health and wellbeing.
Underground Lights is a Belgrade Springboard Company, running workshops in association with the Belgrade Theatre Click Spring Programme. We are run for and by adults experiencing social disadvantage, homelessness and/or mental health issues in Coventry, Warwickshire and the surrounding area.
Established in March 2018, the founders of Underground Lights, Emma Ormerod and Lewis Ford both have their own experiences of mental ill health, and Lewis has experienced homelessness. In January 2019 we started to run our relaxed but vibrant drama workshops in a safe and supportive environment, where people could increase their confidence, learn new skills and make decisions for themselves about what they wanted to work on and perform. We have also started to run ‘Creative Café’ sessions. These are more informal, member-led drop ins, for people to try new performing arts activities and meet others in a low pressure and friendly setting.
Our member-led ethos is also important to us and we want people with personal experience of homelessness and/or mental health issues to be genuinely involved in the development and delivery of our activity at every stage and level of our organisation.