Hackney Shed was established in 2001 following a unique collaboration between Chickenshed, Hackney Education Authority and mainstream and special schools across the borough. Chickenshed created an inclusive Children’s and Youth Theatre in Hackney as part of an outreach project which brought together young people with varying needs, experiences and abilities from both “mainstream” and “special school” backgrounds in innovative theatre workshops – giving children and their parents ground breaking opportunities to work together, create together and generally prove that performing arts was genuinely for everyone.
At the same time Chickenshed was training a group of performing arts practitioners from the community and beyond – all dedicated to giving children their right to inclusive performance and inclusive practice. With the help and support of these individuals the shared vision of Hackney Shed’s Children’s and Youth Theatre was formed.
Hackney Shed is now a thriving theatre workshop group based at BSix Sixth Form College. The Hackney Shed team create and adapt their own material specifically for the children and teenagers who are members. They work tirelessly to ensure that children share each others abilities and inspirations no matter what their previous background or experience happens to be. Whether it is the most rehearsed performance or the most informal workshop – the quality of commitment and creative respect remain the same.
Hackney Shed has made its home at BSix since 2007 benefitting from rehearsals and performances in the College’s state of the art theatre and during this time the theatre company has grown considerably. Recently, the Head of External Relations at the College has been invited to be on the board of trustees and through this will be collaborating with the Hackney Shed team to formalise a closer partnership. The plan is to establish opportunities for current BSix students to volunteer to work alongside the theatre practitioners to provide work related learning opportunities and to develop their own skills in both theatre and working with young people as part of the Extended College curriculum offer.
Andrew Aldrich, Hackney Shed founder member
We are proud to call BSix our home and have found that within this environment both the children and the youth theatre have flourished – our numbers and reputation have gone from strength to strength! Members, parents and audiences often comment on the extremely high quality of the facilities available and the wonderful BSix theatre has enabled us to put on engaging and varied annual performances of a high calibre. We are extremely thankful to the college and its staff for supporting our work and we thoroughly enjoy collaborating with the Performing Arts team, Theatre technician and facilities staff, who make us feel very welcome. We are very excited about future opportunities for Hackney Shed by furthering our partnership with the college.
To visit the Hackney Shed Theatre Company website click here