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New Vic Theatre is changing the lives of local people

Posted on 04 November 2014

The New Vic Theatre’s Borderlines programme is gaining national attention for its work in the community. For those who feel they’re on the sidelines of society, Borderlines offers a network of support. With our funding, the programme challenges preconceptions surrounding race, forced marriage and crime.

The New Vic has a history of producing high-quality documentary and verbatim drama, which explores everyday stories by portraying people’s personal experiences. Using this style of theatre as part of the Borderlines programme, the theatre has helped individuals and groups tell their stories in a way that makes a real difference in their communities.

Arts give voice to the disadvantaged

Borderlines works with people from a range of backgrounds who’ve been made to feel they belong on the sidelines of society because of their age, mental health, gender, sexuality or ethnicity.

The programme provides a platform to explore the issues and problems people want to talk about. It gives a powerful voice to tackle racist, sexist and ageist attitudes, and shows people they don’t have to suffer in silence. The work has also stopped others from falling into the criminal justice system.

Girl sat on stage smiling to left whilst 2 other girls sit on bed with their hands folded.
New Vic Theatre, All Our Daughters. Photo © Andrew Billington

How our funding has helped

The New Vic Theatre is one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations. Our support has helped take Borderlines to the wider local community.

By working with the police, the National Health Service and Home Office, the New Vic has been able to offer a network of support for the programme’s participants. Other community groups and charities involved with Borderlines include Staffordshire Buddies, North Staffs User Group, Refuge and Mind.

“Borderlines participants, whether they are young offenders, victims of crime or professionals working in these fields, are as much a part of our company as actors in a main-house show,” says Susan Moffat, Director of Borderlines. “They share the same creative and artistic ambition and their stories are treated with the same respect as stories written by great playwrights.”

Girl in Chinese textile tunic holds a dancing pose on stage.
New Vic Theatre, All Our Daughters. Photo © Andrew Billington

15 years of great work

The Borderlines programme has attracted national attention for its work, winning a number of awards. These include:

  • British Community Safety Award for achievements in reducing crime
  • Two Global Ethics Impetus Awards from the Citizenship Foundation
  • Sustainable Staffordshire Award
  • Clarion Award from the International Institute for Visual Communication
  • UK Skills for Care National Award for Excellence and Innovation

The impact of this work is also seen on a very personal level. After seeing the change in her son a mother said ‘Thank you for giving me my son back’.

Chief Crown Prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service, Nazir Afzal, said, “New Vic Borderlines is saving lives.”