My story: how getting involved in a drama project helped me
Advisory Panel member
for Youth Arts & Health Trust
Back in 2009, I was only 16 when I found myself homeless. Suffering from a broken family, I was lost in a deep dark hole of depression and mental health. Dumped in and out of bed and breakfasts with no comforts or safety of a home. My life truly turned around when I met Laura and was invited along to join the Exeter Forum Theatre project – a drama group open to people who were vulnerably housed and homeless and / or those suffering with mental health problems.
Drama was always my favourite subject at school and when hearing of the group I was really excited and eager to try it out. I was in a really bad position at the time, and my days had been slowly dragging by with nothing good, or positive to help get me through. When I went along to the drama sessions I felt I could open up and be myself. I didn’t feel isolated as I was surrounded by other people in my position, people who instead of judging could relate.
Best of all I was able to be part of something I had a passion for, and had fun expressing myself and finding my talents. We wrote an original show about youth homelessness and toured it around Devon. It brought something constructive and to look forward to in to my life at a time when I really needed it, and I’d felt that there was nothing else.
During my time doing the project I made lots of progress within my situation and self being. I’d helped create and perform the main character in a production to raise awareness for youth homelessness, where I was able to take some of what I’ve experienced and act it out in a play, which we then performed in front of other young people, around schools and youth clubs. I really felt positive, and part of something good in my life.
The drama workshop gave me positivity, structure and the willpower I needed to help get through the hard time in my life. I was able to find the confidence I needed to join a college course, and gain myself a room in a youth hostel, where I flourished, done well in college, passed my GCSE’s and finally moved on in to my own permanent home.
Drama helped me find my creativity, enabling me to view my life in a whole new positive perspective.
I won’t ever forget my time in the Exeter Forum Theatre project – how it really helped me get back on my path of life and travel further along then I ever thought I would.
Now 7 years later, I’m so excited about working with the Youth Arts & Health Trust and helping to run new projects with young people myself and see the difference it makes for others too.