Education - Paul Hamlyn Foundation September 1st, 2022

Vital Connect

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Bruiser has a long-standing commitment to, and experience in, arts education. Over the last 25 years we have worked closely with students and teachers to develop a diverse programme of creative learning opportunities. Now with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are delighted to announce the launch of VITAL CONNECT - our most ambitious education project yet!

Despite a network of regional theatres, schools outside of the greater Belfast area have reduced access to professional theatre and to arts engagement activities. This lack of access is a driving motivation to deliver a programme that addresses rural isolation from arts education work and professional theatre.

Through VITAL CONNECT, Bruiser is able to continue its long standing reputation as Northern Ireland's leading theatre company working within the education sector.

VITAL CONNECT offers the partner schools, a physical theatre “shot in the arm”, aiming to boost resilience and liberate the imaginations of young people in regional areas. VITAL CONNECT delivers bespoke workshops, inter-school engagement, mentoring, performances, professional contact, interactive digital platforms, and a youth arts festival. The result: High quality arts provision across Northern Ireland.

“Trying to teach a creative subject in the current climate in education is a constant uphill battle.” - Drama Teacher of Participating School

Bruiser has developed a significant role in drama in education in NI. Bruiser regularly programmes main stage productions that align with the school curriculums, with associated workshops and engagement. Bruiser’s education work includes over ten years of “A Day With Bruiser” workshops, the Bruiser Arts Academy Professional Development Programme from KS3,4,5 and beyond for further theatre development. Bruiser currently has live relationships with over 100 schools in Northern Ireland. Bruiser’s ensemble practice is studied as practitioners on the curriculum for all school exam boards across Northern Ireland. We will continue to deliver these strands of education work while delivering the VITAL CONNECT as the project will enhance Bruiser’s capacity and improve the skills and knowledge base of the Bruiser team.

“The Arts & Education panel members are particularly pleased to support this work because of Bruiser's track record of working with schools, and the potential for this project to have a wide and positive impact on drama education in Northern Irish secondary schools.” - The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

With the reduction in higher level theatre training in Northern Ireland through the closure of Belfast Met Tower Street campus, and the reduction of third level performance options at Queen’s and Ulster Universities, VITAL CONNECT takes on a greater importance in preparing second level students to achieve their potential and enable future performance work.

Find out more - Vital Connect