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Annual Report 2012/13

“Everybody’s got a story to tell... and their own way of telling it...”



A Note from the Co-Artistic Directors 2012/13 has been a very busy and exciting year for 20 Stories High. Now in our seventh year as a company, we are really seeing the reach and breadth of our programme locally and nationally. Members of our Youth Theatre are becoming workshop leaders and artists in their own right, and the responses to our Young Actors Company show, Tales from the MP3, were so positive that we have decided to tour the company and the show professionally in 2014. Our participation programme has also expanded, making its reach truly national, which means that young people all over the country not only get to see our shows but are also involved in artistic exchanges, and take part in our famous Post Show Jams. We toured our new play Whole, written by 20 Stories High’s writing associate Philip Osment, to schools, youth clubs and venues. Whole had fantastic responses from audiences nationally, and went on to win an award for Best Theatre Play for Young People by the prestigious Writers Guild of Great Britain. Artistically we are also growing by continuing to explore and push boundaries, fusing an urban arts aesthetic with Puppetry, Verbatim Theatre and Digital Artistry. We worked with a whole collection of brilliant and eclectic artists, as well as companies such as Theatre Rites and Horse+Bamboo who have been part of the development of our next show Melody Loses Her Mojo. Financially, we are acutely aware of the pressures in all aspects of our work, for the young people we work with, for youth clubs and schools and for the arts sector as a whole. We feel very privileged that 2012/13 was our first year as part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio, and we were delighted to secure new grants from the Paul Hamlyn and Esmee Fairbairn Foundations, all of which will ensure some financial stability for the next 2-3 years. We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our participants, audiences, artists, staff and funders for their support in our ongoing development. Keith Saha and Julia Samuels Co-Artistic Directors

Who We Are 20 Stories High was established in 2006 and is led by Co-Artistic Directors, Julia Samuels and Keith Saha. We create dynamic, challenging theatre which attracts new audiences. With a mix of professional touring productions and participation projects, we cross over art-forms to develop new ones, nurture new writing and involve young people at every stage of the theatre-making process. Working with the stories and artistic influences of young people, we are passionate about pushing the boundaries of what theatre can be. Collaborating with a wide and varied range of artists, we have been recognised as offering something different and innovative with our bold renderings of contemporary tales. We are based in Liverpool, and work both locally and nationally. Our work is rooted in the context of social inclusion and cultural diversity. We work in partnership with local and national organisations, schools and community partners to ensure we reach those who find the arts harder to access.

Values 20 Stories High values… Playfulness, Equality, Excellence, Honesty, Hope and being Political.

Awards We are an award-winning company. Whole by Philip Osment won the Best New Play for Young Audiences at the Writers Guild Awards 2013. Ghost Boy by Keith Saha won the 2011 Brian Way Award for the UK’s Best New Play for Young People and the 2010 Best Touring Production from the Liverpool Daily Post Awards. Blackberry Trout Face by Laurence Wilson received the 2010 Brian Way Award for UK’s Best New Play for Young People and was short-listed as Best New Play by the Manchester Evening News in 2009.

National Touring

WHOLE Whole was a new commission from award-winning writer Philip Osment, directed by Julia Samuels. This professional production was developed in collaboration with 20 Stories High’s youth theatre and young actors company, through drama and poetry workshops and a very passionate Dinner ‘n’ Debate. It opened with a professional cast at the Unity Theatre Liverpool, and then toured locally and nationally to schools and partner venues in January-March 2013. There were 21 performances in Merseyside and then a further 27 national shows. There was fantastic feedback from audiences, venue-partners, theatre professionals and the press.

Creative Team Director Julia Samuels Writer Philip Osment Designer Anna-Marie Hainsworth Musical Director/Composer Keith Saha Lighting Designer Douglas Kuhrt

Cast Chantal Dylan Joseph Holly/Nathalie

Annabel Annan-Jonathan Jacob Beswick Joseph Adelakun Grace Willis

“This immaculately integrated four hander gives us a group of older teenagers acting out the story of their lost friend Holly and it is one of the most hard-hitting and moving pieces of theatre for young audiences I’ve ever seen... a remarkable piece of startlingly good theatre. See it if you possibly can.” The Stage

“It is such a raw truthful production played magnificently by the cast and directed so delicately. I personally found it a real journey of emotion and reflection, the time just disappeared and during the production I was certainly taken to many different places with my emotions and my thoughts.” Darren Batey, Albert Kennedy Trust Social Partner on Whole

“Show 2nite was so breath taking… Was soo speechless… this makes me want to act more and in different places to show them what young people can do... 1 word AMAZING” Odile Mukete, Young Audience member via Facebook

Participation Programme Participation is at the heart of everything 20 Stories High does. We engage young people living in some of the most deprived areas of the country. We capture imaginations, raise aspirations and provide opportunities to debate the most urgent issues in young people’s lives, through engagement with high quality, thought-provoking and entertaining live performance, participatory activities and digital media. We support young people with interests in the arts but might lack the confidence, support and financial means to get involved in activities and access further training.

Youth Theatre: a weekly group for 13-21 year olds, who participated in skills workshops and created new production The Universe and Me. Young Actors Company: a new weekly group for 17-25 year olds, who participated in advanced skills development workshops and created new production Tales from the Mp3. Youth Advisory Group: involving young people in decision-making across the organisation. Local, National and International Outreach Projects: including workshops related to Whole. Training and Accreditation: including work placements and Arts Award. Other Activities: including Dinner ‘n’ Debates, Theatre Trips and exchanges.

“It’s so important to us and our daughter is mixing with a peer group that isn’t focused around her disability or learning difficulties, after all, she is a young woman first and foremost, a young woman with all the same interests and social needs as any other young woman. The young people at 20 Stories High are just fantastic – they’ve just accepted her… she is just one of them. And you’ve no idea as a parent what that means to you. Inclusion is so important and that is proper inclusion. She’s not just tolerated...” Margaret Hogan Parent of 20 Stories High member

“Lots of people want to tick a box with us, but that’s where it ends, as a box ticking exercise. Nobody has the longevity of engagement like 20 Stories High has with our students... Most, if not all, of my students who have seen a 20 Stories High show are inspired, educated and motivated... the work is bold and it has given them a platform to be brave with their creative work.” Kath Bulmer

Teacher at University Academy

The The Universe Universe and and Me Me Directed and Written by Keith Saha with 20 Stories High Youth Theatre.

The Universe and Me was a new play developed with 20 Stories High Youth Theatre. It explored themes of science, love and religion in the digital age. Digital Artist and Videosmith, Sam Meech, created a truly original set which incorporated multi-layered projections and live light orientated digital puppets. While Spoken Word artist, Martin Stannage, developed and explored poetry that delved into the inner thoughts and feelings of being a speck of dust in the cosmos. As well as being performed at the BLACK-E in Liverpool, the show toured to Manchester where it was a part of The Royal Exchange’s Truth About Youth Festival. “Theres a deep space inside of me… Sometimes I feel like I’m Pluto with people so far from me I act like a star But I don’t want people to see me…” Owen Jones. 20SH Youth Theatre Member .

Young Actors Company

Youth Theatre

Tales from the MP3 Created and Directed by Julia Samuels, in collaboration with 20 Stories High Young Actors Company. 20 Stories High Young Actors have been on a mission to find out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth... about each other. Tales from the MP3 is a verbatim theatre piece with live music and poetry. It is an incredibly honest, moving and powerful production entirely made up of interviews with the young actors, sharing stories and experiences from their lives. The show was previewed at the Bluecoat, Liverpool in December 2012. As part of its development, extracts were shared at the international festival Contacting The World, Contact Theatre; the Truth About Youth Festiva, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; and Peterborough’s Youth Theatre Conference. We are planning to tour Tales from the MP3 nationally in 2014. “The work is a major triumph, and many who saw it here – myself included – regarded it as amongst the best live pieces they had seen in our space since we reopened the Bluecoat in 2008.” Bryan Biggs, Director, the Bluecoat

Case Studies Will Jones (Age 15) “The thing that made me join 20 Stories High was all the talk about it. We first got told in school then we had a workshop with one of the workers and I just loved it so I filled out a leaflet and went to the workshop. I had never participated in youth theatre or a youth arts project before. Before I went to 20 Stories High I could only act in front of my friends, but I was never able to sing or do rap and being there just taught me that no one is going to laugh at you if you just try it and be confident. No one can stop you. Before 20 Stories High I never went up and talked to new people. Since joining 20 Stories High I can and I have gained more friends, and people have said I have become a more talk able person. 20 Stories High has taught me a lot and has helped me gain confidence. It is my second family!!”

Anita Welsh (Age 21) “20SH has played a huge part of my life... Without it I wouldn’t be ME... I’ve developed as an artist as well as developing as a person... They’ve helped and supported me so much... 20SH is so much more than a theatre company. It’s a family. A part of my life... The thing that I have benefited most from being part of 20SH would have to be the people... there have been many people who have come in and out of my life from being part of 20SH who have inspired me.”

Research and Development

MELODY LOSES HER MOJO Melody Loses Her Mojo is a new play in development, written by our Co-Artistic Director Keith Saha.

It will tour in Autumn 2013 as a co-production between Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Leicester Curve. Melody Loses Her Mojo explores the stories of three young people looked after by the social services, and is inspired by some of Keith’s own personal experiences as well as the experiences of young people he has worked with. In December 2012, the script was workshopped with actors and 20 Stories High Youth Theatre, followed by a sharing event for young people and partners. In March 2013, the fantastic Sue Buckmaster from Theatre-Rites came on board as our Puppet Director. She then joined Puppet maker Alison Duddle (Horse + Bamboo), Designer Kate Unwin and Lighting Designer Doug Kuhrt for an insightful Research and Development week focusing on Design and Puppetry. Meanwhile, our Participation Manager was busy linking with the Everyman & Playhouse Theatre and Community team, local teachers and youth workers to create an exciting and dynamic range of wraparound activities, which will animate the public spaces of the Playhouse during the Melody run in September 2013.

Creative Case for Diversity Conversations 20 Stories High were invited by Arts Council England to lead a series of seminars to enable ACE National Portfolio Organisations to convene sector-led discussions around the Creative Case programme. The project focused on North West producing theatres and aimed to enable an inspirational and open debate around the issues raised by the Creative Case work. It was hoped that it would inspire new networks and develop partnerships between organisations committed to the Creative Case and who would work to effect change. The seminars took place during February 2013 and were led by 20 Stories High, with artists facilitating each session. Representatives from The Bluecoat, DaDaFest, Contact Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Bolton’s Octagon Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, Sustained Theatre North West (STUN), Theatre by the Lake, The Dukes, Home, 20 Stories High and Homotopia took part in the seminars along with Fittings Multimedia, Hetain Patel and Vital Xposure. “I was overwhelmed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the North West theatres and our diversity sector of artists and organisations. This programme of conversations, alongside pieces of inspiring work, shone a light on the North West theatres’ concerns and sparked debate on diversity, creativity and the roles we play in opening up opportunities for talent development, networking and new collaborations. A big thanks to 20 Stories High for making all this happen.” Julia Keenan Relationship Manager Diversity in Arts Practice Arts Council England

2012/13 in Numbers We performed a total of We performed We facilitated

47 professional shows

18 participatory shows

181 workshops

We performed at

5 festivals

We showcased our

1st ever film screening


6,900 audience members saw our work


5,500 participants

We worked with and

22 volunteers

48 artists

engaged in workshops and activities

Company and Financial Information 20 Stories High is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Our charitable objects are to advance the education of the general public in the performing arts and to provide or facilitate or assist in the provision of facilities for recreation or other leisure time activity in the interests of social welfare for the public at large. We achieve these objects through two main strands: - Professional performances that tour to schools, youth clubs and theatres - A range of equally high quality participatory activities – Engaging young people in their own creative and social development. Our financial result at the end of the financial year 2012/13 was: - Total income of £271,310 (2012 £216,970) - Total expenditure of £281,408 (2012 £226,332) - Net expenditure of £10,089, comprised of a £69 annual surplus (profit) and £10,176 of expenditure related to income carried over from 2011/12. Reserves: - Although we are a charity operating on a not for profit basis, we endeavour, in order to provide for financial stability and sustainability, to develop and maintain a free reserve of £30,000 to sustain our operations over a period - Actual free reserves at 31 March 2013 were £14,711. The trustees forecast to increase the free reserves to the appropriate level within the next 3 years.

The Future... Melody Loses Her Mojo National Tour Autumn 2013

A co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Leicester Curve. Melody is in the care system and is trying to keep hold of her Mojo... Blessing has come from Nigeria, but longs to be back home... Rizla is the world’s worst drug dealer and his new friends might not be the ‘family’ he is looking for... Melody Loses her Mojo is a bold, gritty and challenging story, fusing hip-hop theatre, dance, puppetry and street art, following the amazing journeys of three remarkable young people.

Tales From The Mp3 National Tour Summer 2014

We are excited to be taking our Young Actors Company on tour with their acclaimed verbatim theatre show. Tales from the Mp3 will open at the Everyman Theatre as part of Liverpool’s first Young People’s Cultural Festival in July 2014, before going to the Edinburgh Festival and then on a short national tour to key venue partners.

Participation Our Liverpool-based core Participation Programme 2013–14 will include: Youth Theatre

Working on creating a short pop-up performance piece, directed by Julia Samuels for the Future Worlds installation at the Royal Exchange in November 2013.

Young Actors Company

Taking part in Hip-Hop Theatre workshops, and creating their own new show, as a partnership project with Leicester Curve and Young Everyman Playhouse, alongside Melody Loses Her Mojo.

Open and Outreach Workshops

To engage new young people.

Youth Advisory Group

Involving young people in decision-making at 20 Stories High.

Dinner ‘n’ Debate, theatre trips, Arts Award and other activities. Connecting with local, national and international festivals.

Thank You Without the support of our funders, partners, young people, staff, board, volunteers, artists and freelancers we couldn’t achieve our ambitions with such success and energy. So a huge thank-you to...

Our Funders And Donors Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council, BBC Children in Need, Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund, Lankelly Chase, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, Garfield Weston, E.L. Rathbone Charitable Trust, Visiting Arts, Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, Co-operative Community Fund, Co-Operative Customer Donation, Money For Life and Kate Samuels.

Core Team Julia Samuels, Keith Saha, Leanne Jones, Sarah Meath, Nathaniel Hall, Tessa Buddle.

Company Associates Isobel Hawson, Philip Osment and Curtis Watt.

Board Rebecca Vipond, Kim Johnson, Lateefah Wainwright- Owoo, Trish Sangster, Anita Welsh, Curtis Watt, Louie Ingham and Jo Hemmant.

Volunteers And Students Lisa Davis, Becky Hopkins, Hannah Blamire, Paul Williams, Brett Cohen, Katie Scott, Onai Bikishoni, Snowzie, Anita Welsh, Ellie Potter, Sarah McDermott, Fiona Darling, Yvette Sedgley, Dominic Halliday, Shayan Hamzeh, Nicole May, Alex Herring, Brett Cohen, Ruth Samuels and the ‘Evoke’ Team.

Freelancers Anita Welsh, Toyin Otubsin, Bradley Thompson, Sam Kent, Jennifer Nelson, Colin Warring, Yvette Sedgley, Helen Lainsbury, John Sims, Kate Benfield, Anne Marie Martin, Matthew Barnes, Geoff Owens, Julie Guinan, Ken Butterfield.

Artists Keith Saha, Julia Samuels, Martin Stannage, Sam Meech, Philip Osment, Curtis Flowers, Bola Agjbaje, Vanessa Babirye, Gavin Wood, Curtis Watt, Paul Williams, Katie Scott, Onai Bikishoni, Eli Randle, Rachel Farrell, Steph O’Driscoll, Topher Campbell, Ellie Potter, Tim Lynskey, Anna-Marie Hainsworth, Joseph Adelakun, Leon Tagoe, Tara Lodge, Modupe Adeyeye, Bradley Thompson, Keisha Thompson, Rachel Brogan, Matt Rutter, Lin Coghlan, Laurence Clark, Graeme Lycett, Benji Reid, Grace Willis, Jacob Beswick, Annabel Annan Jonathan, Sue Buckmaster, Joanne Sandi, Sarah Amankwah, Danny Hayes, Anita Welsh, Doug Kuhrt, Sam Ikpeh, Julie McNamara, Annie Mukete, Robert Day, Wes Storey, Stickman, Nicole May, Alex Herring.

Our Local and National Partners COoL (Cultural Organisations of Liverpool), Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, The Bluecoat, DaDa Fest, MPAC (Merseyside Play Action Council), YEP (Young Everyman Playhouse), Merseyside Youth Theatre Development Forum, Knowsley Council, Young Identity, Toxteth TV, University Academy, Academy of St Francis of Assisi, LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), The Black-E, Unity Theatre, Z-Arts Centre, Chinese Arts Centre, Tmesis, LCVS (Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services), Tell Tale Theatre Company, Altru Drama, Suitcase Ensemble, Off The Ground Theatre, Curious Minds, Unity Youth & Community Centre, Young Addaction, Knowsley Youth Theatre, GYRO (Gay Youth R Out), Catalyst Performing Arts, Liverpool Youth Service, Anfield Community Arts, COAP (Children of Addicted Parents), Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, 84 Theater, Cardboard Citizens, Bolton Octagon, New Wolsey Theatre, The Garage, Redbridge Drama Centre, The Royal Exchange, The Dukes, Leicester Curve, The Key, Contact Theatre, Albert Kennedy Trust, Movema, Freedom Studios, The Red Room, NAYT (National Association of Youth Theatres), STUN (Sustained Theatre) and ITC (Independent Theatre Council).

And a final huge thank you to all of our audiences and participants!

Photo Credits Robert Day Wesley Storey Design by Ezequiel Serrano

If you would like to get in touch, please email, phone or write to us and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 20 Stories High Toxteth TV 37 - 45 Windsor Street L8 1XE T: 0151 708 9728 E:

20 Stories High @20StoriesHigh /20StoriesHighTV /20StoriesHigh

20 Stories High Annual Report 2012/13  
20 Stories High Annual Report 2012/13  

20 Stories High Annual Report 2012/13