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The Chester Bluecoat Charity is delighted that Theatre Porto (formerly Action Transport Theatre) has opened the doors of its’ new theatre and transformed cultural centre, on top of the positive impact a grant awarded from the Chester Bluecoat Charity has made.

In August 2022, the new theatre and cultural centre opened in Whitby Park, Ellesmere Port, after a £2.8M development, funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Arts Council England. Theatre Porto creates original, imaginative theatre, ‘for, by and with’ children and young people.

In January 2021, the Chester Bluecoat Charity awarded Theatre Porto £15,000 a year, for at least three years, in order to fund drama sessions for isolated children from an area of high deprivation and child poverty. The weekly, term-time sessions offer young people aged 7 – 17 the opportunity to come together in a safe and supported space to help develop social skills and confidence. The sessions have also started discussions with the young participants about mental health and wellbeing.

In the first 6 months of 2022, 135 sessions were delivered to 79 young people, of which 23% have special needs and 27% are from under-performing schools. These sessions have made a great impact on the participants lives, and positive outcomes from it include:

  • Improvement emotional literacy
  • Lowering feelings of stress
  • Reducing isolation
  • Empowerment to express themselves
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved mental health

One child commented “Without Theatre Porto, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. It has given me opportunities, life experiences, friends and a super safe space to be….it feels like a place where I can unapologetically be me and be as creative as possible.”

A parent of a child who has attended the sessions said “These sessions are the highlight of my children’s week. They are well run, varied and provide a safe and enjoyable time”

Theatre Porto has been a producer of original theatre and wide-ranging youth and community work for over 35 years. Founded in 1986, the company is proud of its origins, its track-record, and the impact it has had; transforming the lives of local children, young people, and wider communities.

Theatre Porto’s mission is to transform lives and build stronger local communities by supporting young people to build their confidence and bring local people of all ages together through performing arts.