David Mabbott, Artistic and Executive Director at Angel Shed, explains more about its partnership with the college, offers his advice to aspiring actors and musicians, and also shares some the charity’s plans for its birthday over the coming months.
What is Angel Shed Theatre Company?
Angel Shed is an inclusive performing arts charity. We facilitate accessible activities for children and young people of all backgrounds. We are led by young people’s ideas, and they are active participants in the planning, creation, and performance of our work. Last year we worked with over 600 local children and young people between the ages of seven and 19, including over 100 attending our theatre, music and movement sessions each week.
Tell us about your role at Angel Shed and your own performing arts career.
In my role as Artistic and Executive Director I oversee the organisation, working with our core office team to support our membership, volunteers, and outreach work as well as raising funds for the charity. I also work with our twelve-strong facilitation team in the planning and delivery of all workshops and performances.
My career in the performing arts began as a musical director, working on youth, amateur and professional musical theatre productions. I then began to focus on work in community arts settings as a musician and theatre practitioner, alongside work in the UK and Europe as a composer and instrumental performer.
Tell us a more about Angel Shed’s partnership with CANDI?
Angel Shed has been based in the CANDI’s Centre for Business Arts and Technology on Camden Toad since we were established in 2004. This partnership has been crucial to Angel Shed’s work over the years, and we are excited that our 20th anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate our long-standing relationship with CANDI.
How does this partnership support CANDI students?
CANDI students gain work experience in our weekly sessions. They also support children and young people in groups and one-to-one, lead games and perform with members on stage in end-of-term productions. We ensure students’ skills are developed and they are provided with training and ongoing support.
All volunteers get inclusive facilitation training, safeguarding training, a free DBS check and employer references. We aim to provide them with the training, skills and confidence to support them going onto further training or employment.
In addition, we regularly provide additional opportunities to CANDI students working on lighting and sound and other roles backstage and front of house. We also partner with specific courses to provide real world applications to course briefs, such as fashion students designing costumes for our shows.
What are the benefits of this relationship to Angel Shed?
Angel Shed members are fortunate to be able to use the fantastic spaces at CANDI for rehearsals and performances. The professional music rooms, dance studio and theatre provide our participants with such a great experience.
Almost three quarters of Angel Shed participants come from low-income backgrounds and access our financial support. Islington has the seventh highest rate of children living in poverty in the country and the majority of Angel Shed members live in the five most deprived wards in the borough.
Having our base at CANDI, in the heart of the Islington community, enables us to better reach those children and young people who might find it hardest to access such opportunities. Furthermore, over a third of our youth members have special educational needs or are disabled and being able to run our sessions in an accessible building is invaluable.
How have CANDI students contributed to Angel Shed’s success?
Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Angel Shed and we could not do what we do without them. Our large volunteer team allows for a high ratio of adults to participants in each session and ensures the best possible support for all members and ensures that everybody is allowed to take part. CANDI students in particular are great role models to Angel Shed’s children and young people and bring such a brilliant energy to our sessions.
What advice would you give to Performing Arts students?
People understandably get hooked on the idea of stage and screen acting but keep your mind open to other routes. Performing arts also takes places in a variety of settings, from schools and community centres to hospitals and prisons. Even the most successful performers benefit from having as varied a skill set as possible, so look to get experience in lighting, sound design, stage management or marketing.
What are your future plans for Angel Shed?
We are looking forward to celebrating 20 years of Angel Shed over the next 12 months. We have lots planned, from a dance film and music recordings to a pub quiz and more than a dozen performances. Check out our social media for regular updates.