A Community Theatre and Media Project to Support LGBT Young Adults

Around half of LGBTQ+ identifying young people said they feared if they were open about their identity to family members, they may be evicted. A further 64 percent of LGBTQ+ young people say that homelessness has made it difficult to have friendships and other relationships–these deeply disturbing figures come from the Albert Kennedy Trust’s LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report 2021.

A previous AKT report based on data from Centrepoint (2018) found that around 24 percent of young people who are homeless identify as LGBT, and that figure is probably higher. Homeless particularly effects trans, gender non-binary and LGBTQ+-identifying young people with a disability.

Not enough people know how large scale this problem is–but Empath Action CIC working together with Community Media CIC would like to help change that.

Our highly praised stage show “The Man in the Moon” debuted as a project part-funded by Wakefield Council’s Festival of the Moon in August of 2019 for #WordFest.

Now, thanks to a generous grant from Nova’s Live Well Wakefield’s Small Grants Programme, we will restage the play in February 2023 for four shows, with an incredible community element running the year up to then that will see a group of LGBT+ young people (18-24) from across the District work with us to develop and facilitate the play.

Our LGBT+ theatre practitioners will learn about writing, creating props, management, acting and staging theatre in a community setting and grow their connections, their sense of place, and their understanding of working in the arts and community sectors.

Empath Action CIC Director Steven Busfield says of The Man in the Moon: A Community Rising:

“This theatre show was always intended to draw attention to the desperately high rates of homelessness and home insecurity suffered by LGBTQ+ youth. To be able to restage this play is incredible, but to be able to do so while engaging directly with LGBTQ+ young adults who can also feel cut-off and culturally isolated from the Arts is an indescribable privilege. We at Empath are so grateful for the Live Well Wakefield team’s belief in this project and the positive difference it can make for our participants and the wider community.”

As part of The Man in the Moon: A Community Rising, we have also formed a partnership with Community Media CIC (sparklecommunications.co.uk), a social enterprise focusing on empowering people through new media. This partnership will enable our group of LGBTQ+ young people to gain a crash course in how to use social media in a healthy and enriching way to promote The Man in the Moon and their own work, to make connections, and to form support networks.

CEO Sophie Mei Lan says of the project: “We love working delivering communications training to ensure all voices are heard in society and in the media. By sharing stories we can improve one another’s mental health but help people to feel connected too.

“Many young people consume a lot of content online but still feel disconnected, so we want to help transform people into content creators so that their voice is also heard in a powerful way.

Empath will be focusing on the expressive work in person whereas we will support them to express online – all in a positive holistic way.”

If you identify as LGBTQ+ and are aged between 18-24 and live in the Wakefield District and would like to be involved in our play, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].

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