Using the power of the theatre to transform young lives

“[Mousetrap] has opened up a new world to our students and begun to open their eyes to the possibilities that theatre has to offer… ‘life-changing’ would not be an overstatement” - Teacher, Walthamstow

Who are Mousetrap Theatre Projects?

We are a charity dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and disadvantaged children through theatre.

We believe passionately in the power of theatre to transform young lives. Each year we serve around 13,000-15,000 children and young people who have a learning or sensory disability or experience economic or social disadvantage. We use theatre to empower these young people, helping them to reach their potential, broaden their horizons and provide them with new opportunities that would otherwise be off limits.

“You don’t think you’ve helped me but you have. I’ve never felt the way [performing] makes me feel, it’s like being on another planet.” 

What’s the problem?

Participation in theatre and the arts can have a huge impact on a young person; it can build confidence, improve communication and social skills, encourage creativity and self-expression and open minds. Unfortunately, young people who are disabled or disadvantaged often miss out on this life-changing experience, especially as arts provision is increasingly limited in schools.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds not only face the financial barrier to theatre, they also often feel that the theatre is not meant for them. Young people with special needs experience even more difficulties with engaging with theatre.

We open the doors to theatre and use it as a catalyst for young people’s growth and self-expression, and help them discover the joy and bonding experience that comes with the magic of live theatre.

How do we help?

We run over 20 distinct and varied programmes, all of which include a visit to a top London production, either for free or for a heavily subsidised ticket price. Our projects include educational workshops in schools and communities, activities tailored for those with disabilities such as relaxed performances and on-stage touch tours, and youth theatre-going clubs. Through this portfolio…

  • We break down financial, practical and social barriers which prevent young people from enriching their lives through the arts
  • We provide uplifting, joyful theatre experiences to families, children and young people facing disadvantage and disability
  • We expand and challenge young minds
  • We use drama to build confidence, self-esteem and aspiration in young people who live difficult lives
  • We nurture creativity both in and out of the classroom.

Simon’s story...

Simon is an autistic teenager and after he attended our Summerstage performing arts summer school his mum wrote to thank us, saying:

“Trying to find activities for Simon to do in the summer is a nightmare. He is too 'high functioning' to access some special needs schemes, yet has too many special needs for many mainstream groups to be confident to take him. I can't tell you how reassuring it was for you to be so 'ok' about all his issues and quirks, you were so kind and accommodating.

Seeing him happy and motivated to get up in the morning was amazing – he was so eager to go and learn more. And managing the train journey every day was a step towards independence and a boost to his confidence. 

Simon spends a lot of his life in a highly anxious state. The tears, the meltdowns are just a 'normal' part of our lives as he struggles to fit into the world which doesn't understand or accommodate his Autism. When we saw the final Summerstage performance, we were totally blown away. My son was totally transformed: where was my anxious, fearful boy?  He had vanished and in his place, stood a confident, self-assured young man. I was choked up hearing him sing solo on stage and so proud. For once in his life, the child who believes he is 'rubbish' felt good about himself and believed in his own ability.

It is not the final performance alone that counts - he learned so much on the journey, how to focus, to cooperate with others, to work as part of a team, to explore feelings and emotions. I hope that some of these skills will transfer gradually into everyday life as he discovers himself further and grows in confidence and self-belief.

Summerstage was such a positive and life affirming experience. It gave him an opportunity to 'fly' - that in itself was priceless. We are so thankful for everyone who made it happen for him.”

The Mousetrap Theatre Projects website ->