Community and Connection

Southwark Youth Troupe

Using theatre to help traumatised young people build positive relationships

Southwark Youth Troupe (SYT) participants become part of a theatre company (the “troupe”), which models an alternative family, and acts as a nurturing unit. SYT is a community that helps participants understand and experience the possibilities of relational compassion and care, and the joy of making and producing something positive with others, which they can then take and apply in their daily lives.

It gives participants a chance to take part in any aspect of the theatre arts, and to do so as part of an artistic team. Each young person works with a one-to-one mentor, helping them to calm and manage their emotions, and gain confidence and self-esteem. 

The project will benefit young people with complex emotional reactions, and signs of disorder including behavioural problems such as outbursts, mood swings, impulsivity, withdrawal and aggression towards others and symptoms such as anxiety and low mood/depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, psychosis, and paranoia. They prioritise young people who are especially isolated and aren’t accessing any other positive community activity.


Theatre Troupe puppet show

Addressing the impact of adverse childhood experiences

Research suggests that people who experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are at risk of developing significant mental and physical difficulties in adulthood. All of SYT’s participants have experienced ACEs in the form of abuse, neglect, domestic abuse, Child Criminal and Sexual Exploitation and bullying (including racism). Additionally, many suffer additional ACEs linked to social and economic disadvantage.

Based on previous experience, at least half of participants are expected to have experienced at least three ACEs, a great majority will live in poverty and be people of colour and just under half will have a learning or neurodevelopmental difficulty, and a similar proportion would have had permanent or fixed-term exclusions from
mainstream education.

SYT will improve participants lives by reducing isolation increasing social interaction equipping them with the ability to make safe quality relationships reducing the heightened emotional states that lead to extreme outbursts out of proportion reactions to small triggers and disassociation that trap them in patterns of illness and building confidence and self-esteem that will underpin their recovery going forward.

Spaces in the programme are by referral only through South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust mental health services, social services, and selected schools . For more information about Theatre Troupe visit their website at

Theatre Troupe is absolutely delighted to be working with the Maudsley Charity. The grant will allow us to reach and inspire many young trauma survivors, who would normally not get the opportunity to take part in positive activities, or access services. It is also an exciting opportunity to be part of a wider community offer, working alongside a range of innovative and committed services and organisations across the boroughs that SLaM serves.

Theatre Troupe