Urban Playground: involving audiences

Urban Playground: involving audiences

By The Urban Playground Team


The Urban Playground Team share their experience of involving audiences in the creative process and building positive relationships with funders.

Introducing Urban Playground

The Urban Playground Team are the original performance-parkour (2PK) company combining authentic French free-running with dance and physical theatre.

They have a strong focus on young people, particularly 12 - 25-year-olds at risk of social exclusion. This is the audience they keep in mind when making work. The company is committed to working with young people who are considered 'troublesome' and re-presenting them as artists.

While maintaining a youth focus, The Team makes work to appeal to the general public. It's important to the company, particularly when making work for outdoor spaces, that they create performances that appeal to all ages and backgrounds.

The project

The Urban Playground Team initially applied to Grants for the Arts for support with the research and development phase of its new show, Steam.

The idea was to reimagine the life of a steam locomotive in a performance designed to engage young people.

The Team wanted to experiment with involving an audience from the very early stages of development. They also wanted to create a show that was flexible and had a set list that could be added to.

Following a successful research and development phase, the company received a second grant to create and tour Steam.

The process

A recent addition to the Grants for the Arts questions about how audiences had been involved in the creation of the work sparked The Urban Playground Team’s imagination.

The company saw a real opportunity in involving its target audience in the development of its new show.

In previous jobs Alister and Miranda had run scratch nights for artists to share work in development and really understood the value of that process.

Keen to find a way to test their new work with an audience, they approached South East Dance.

South East Dance were similarly enthused by the idea and arranged for Urban Playground to use the site in Brighton that’s destined to become The Dance Space in 2018.

As well as recognising the value to The Urban Playground Team's work, South East Dance saw an opportunity to start building relationships with the community surrounding The Dance Space site. They contacted the Oasis Project, a substance misuse service for women and families based in the area, and offered free Parkour workshops and performances.

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Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2016