Thursday 30th October saw our first ever fundraising event. It was a night full of spectacular performances, heart-warming stories and inspiring conversation. The audience was full of local members of the community and successful alumni, showing the lasting impact Wac Arts has had on our local area and on its student’s lives.
The downstairs area of the Old Town Hall was beautifully lit (thanks to amazing lighting support from White Light Limited) awashing the space with a purple glow and guests were welcomed with delicious drinks and canapés beautifully crafted by Diana Gross, Joan Scott and their team of fantastic helpers.
The evening began with our Senior Wac Physical Theatre students giving a static performance at the top of the stairs: a beautiful tree as a centre piece was inspired by a student’s drawing of a tree stating “Wac Arts is a family like branches on a tree. We all grow in different directions yet our roots remain the same”. As the piece reached its crescendo, our Senior Wac Choir performed on the grand staircase leading the audience up into the theatre ready for the main event. Once in the theatre, Chair of Trustees Liz Cleaver gave a speech to welcome guests – many of whom had not been to the Town hall before this night – to Wac Arts.
Students from all courses performed throughout the night. Our Diploma students performed a number singing and dance pieces including Contemporary and Horton Jazz dance and a fantastic rendition of Pharrell William’s “Happy”.
Porsche Grant (Diploma Student), performing with members of the Senior Wac Arts band in partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, was introduced by Miss Dynamite. Niomi was trained at Wac Arts and came back to tell the audience about her journey: what Wac Arts means to her and the young people like her who come through our doors every day. Junior Wac Arts students endeared the audience with their street dance number, humorous and confident; they are all stars in the making!
Our artist in residence, Che Walker, directed a piece with our Senior Wac Arts drama class from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’. With the help of the soulful, hugely talented Senior Wac Arts band this was performed with integrity and grit: they really wowed the crowd.
Vas Blackwood (Actor, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) introduced a drama monologue and gave a clear example of how important low cost performing arts classes are to the young people who would suffer if they were not able to access such training.
The performances were interspersed with pieces of footage from the full breadth of Wac Arts’ projects, including Wonder Wac, Wac Arts interactive, residential breaks and holiday projects; as well as beautiful, pertinent videos of the Children in Need Fun and Friendship programme and the In-flight documentary video of Chloe (a young person on the disabilities programmes) who faced her fears over a number of aerial workshops and learnt to fly.
Vas and Niomi both reiterated to the audience how important arts training is for young people and reaffirmed one of the slides projected to the audience as they entered the theatre “how much you achieve in life should not be solely determined by your background”. “Attending Wac Arts every Sunday as a teenager transformed my life. It was incredibly valuable to have a supportive environment where I could go each weekend to play music in a group context under the guidance of an experienced musician. I cannot overstate the continuing importance of having such institutions accessible to young people in London”
Sam Beste, Wac Arts Alumna and Professional Musician.
We would like to thank all of our students for their hard work, and for putting on some the best performances Wac Arts has ever seen. We also want to thank all the staff who have helped us throughout the planning, preparation and execution of our first ever fundraiser, without you it would not have been possible to hold such an integral and spectacular night.
Everyone at Wac Arts is so massively thankful to the following companies and individuals, without whom we would have been completely lost:
Thank you to Rosie and Richard Hytner, Sam Tilling, Alison Lurie, Sue Summers, our wonderful “Wac Pack” and Jancis Robinson for offering your time and generosity to our event. Without your dedication and support we would not be looking to a bright future where we can continue to support over 700 young people each week.
With thanks to Bryan Raven, Craig Bennett and their team at White Light Limited @WhiteLightLtd www.whitelight.ltd.uk
With thanks to Matt at Urban Flower Company @UrbanFlowerCo www.urbanflowercompany.co.uk
With thanks to Gareth James Photography @garethjlondon www.gareth-james.com
With thanks to Tony Leonard of Jeroboams Wine Merchants @Jeroboams www.jeroboams.co.uk
With thanks to Budgens for donating £100 worth of wine to the event @BelsizeBudgens www.thorntonsbudgens.com
With thanks to Dominic Durocher at Euphorium Bakery @euphoriumbakery www.euphoriumbakery.com
With thanks to Shaun at Highbury Vintners @HighburyVintner www.highburyvintners.co.uk
With thanks to Monte’s Delicatessen of Canonbury Lane @MontesDeli www.montesdeli.com
With thanks to Shriji News of Canonbury Place, Islington 020 7226 2509