During 2013 I worked alongside the education department at the Royal Exchange Theatre. They have teamed up with New Charter Housing Trust and New Charter Academy in Tameside to investigate ways of bringing the high school and its local community closer together.
I worked with the Theatre’s schools’ co-ordinator, Jane Purcell, on a project we called Our Pals where we asked the question, “What does community mean to you?”
Students – who were also members of the school’s Army Cadets – photographed and interviewed people from the local community, their own school community and from the fire and police services.
They then put together an ‘audio slideshow’ of their images and quotes which featured in a final production at school and in a community centre.
“I have worked with Len on two school projects and each time Len has been a delight to work with. He just gets people whether young or old and his joy of life is infectious! That he is a brilliant artist is beyond doubt but it is his ability to make people feel comfortable and open up that makes him stand out for me. He can ‘love bomb’ the most reluctant, insecure students into achieving far more than they ever dared. It has been an absolute pleasure working with him.”