The’ Illuminate’ project is a partnership formed between Blackpool’s Grand Theatre and Blackpool Childrens Services, co-produced with care-experienced young people. Blackpool has the highest number of children in care in England. This now three year, creative holiday programme aimed to improve resilient confidence, wellbeing, build a sense of belonging, as well as developing creative and technical theatre skills and offering the Grand’s stage and studio to share and perform work.

The Illuminate project uses the Grand’s unique ‘Story Led-Resilient Practice’ ™approach, which uses stories to explore resilience through the journey of characters, linked to onstage performances that they come to see. Over 100 children and young people participated in creative workshops, including, drama, dance, lantern making, poetry, photography, banner making and graffiti art, which provided the opportunity for participants to safely explore their own sense of self, without the label of being in care. The ‘Story-Led Resilient’ innovative practice has shown a positive impact on making friends, confidence, self- expression, creative skills, understanding and practising resilience.

“This project offers a safe space with adults who the children trust, who accept and believe in them. ‘Illuminate’ provides positive, consistent role models who are there for the children as they struggle to deal with deep trauma whilst fighting to be accepted. We offer a safe bridge for them to find and be themselves without labels. Post lockdown the local authority is stretched. We fulfil the basics e.g. when they might have run away or aren’t going to school, or worse. They are ‘held‘ at this project, the theatre is described as a family by them, here in this project they move away from basics to explore stories, well-being and resilient skills, who they are and want to be. The interpersonal work needed that we often don’t have time or resources to do.” – Lead Social Worker

‘Story-Led Resilient Practice’™ -Celine Wyatt FRSA (2017, adapted 2020) ©Blackpool Grand Theatre, 2017- all rights reserved

‘The Illuminate Project’-2021-2023 ©Blackpool Grand Theatre 2021- all rights reserved