The ‘Made in Peckham’ institution, Theatre Peckham, announces Star Wars Star John Boyega is to join the company as Patron. Theatre Peckham, which has been central to the local community for 30 years, is delighted to welcome him back to the company. In his role as Patron, BAFTA Winning Rising Star John will launch the new Name A Seat campaign, which underpins a fundraising campaign for the theatre’s new home in Peckham.
The team at Theatre Peckham are so proud of everything John has already achieved on film, TV and stage, and delighted to welcome him to the team as inspiration for the hundreds of young people coming through the doors of the theatre on a weekly basis. John, who attended Theatre Peckham throughout his school years – age 9 – 14 – is a global superstar thanks to his role in the new Star Wars series and has recently announced a return to the stage March 2017 at the Old Vic.
“As a graduate of the company, I am honoured to be in a position to give back to Theatre Peckham, beginning with the name a seat fundraising campaign which supports the theatre’s new home in Peckham,” said actor John Boyega. “I admire Theatre Peckham’s continued mission to increase diversity in the creative industries, inspiring young people like myself to be the change we want to see in this industry.”
Teresa Early, Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Peckham added:
“I am so proud of all our young people – John saying he would be honoured to be a Patron, will be a huge boost for our young members – now there’s an act for them to follow!”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“John Boyega’s inspiring story is something every Londoner should be proud of. As a young south London boy he learnt his craft at a local theatre, and has gone on to become a star in one of the highest grossing movies of all time. It is fantastic that Theatre Peckham, one of this city’s local cultural gems, gave him this wonderful opportunity. As Mayor for all Londoners, I will do everything I can to support the next generation to pursue an interest in culture, enrich their lives and help maintain London’s position as a global beacon of the arts.”
Theatre Peckham is a theatre company serving South London’s young people from age three up with courses and classes in Voice, Dance and Drama. TP produces two professional productions a year starring kids from the theatre’s term time classes. Working within the local community, TP seeks to play its part in readdressing the continued lack of diversity in the creative industries. Currently only 6% of those working in the performing arts come from BAME backgrounds. The theatre company is working to change this by encouraging young people from varied backgrounds to consider a career in the arts.
In 2016 the theatre moves into a new home complete with a 200-seat theatre, two studio spaces and office space. The new building has been funded by Southwark Council and through Section 106 funding from Alumno Development’s development of the old Southwark Town Hall. An Arts Council Grant is providing new equipment, with help from Trusts and Foundations. Campaigns like Name a Seat will support current funds and are the first step for the theatre seeking alternative forms of funding as core arts funding in the Capital continues to change.
Current patrons of Theatre Peckham include Sir Ian McKellen, Jenny Agutter OBE, David Harewood MBE and Paulette Randall.
Statistic credit: 6% of those working in the performing arts come from BAME backgrounds. Creative Industries Federation – Creative Diversity, September 2015