Our Mission – Empowering Young People to Change Their World through the Arts

Wac Arts is an arts charity based in the Old Town Hall, Belsize Park, North London.

Wac Arts has been driven by the needs of children and young people for nearly 40 years. Working with hundreds of young people aged 5-26 annually; Wac Arts provides weekend, evening and holiday programmes as well as unique Full-time performing arts course and a vibrant disability and inclusion programme. Wac Arts is a creative hub where young people build confidence, artists connect, and other arts and cultural organisations thrive.

“We rehearse up in leafy north London in a fantastic arts centre. You’ve got lots of older people there doing University of the Third Age and then you’ve got lots of young people running around trying to get into the arts, so its a very creative space and its lovely”
Damian Lewis, actor (on rehearsing The Goat at Wac Arts, March 2017)

Wac Arts prides itself on offering fully inclusive programmes that celebrates diversity. Wac Arts offer an arts programme that responds to young people’s interests and requests, working with artist tutors and art forms which reflect the diverse and vibrant communities and society that young people grow up in today.

“Attending Wac Arts every Sunday as a teenager transformed my life. I cannot overstate the continuing importance of having such institutions accessible to young people in London”
Sam Beste- Alum and professional musician (Previously played keys in the Amy Winehouse Band)

Our Alumni

A number of our students have marked their presence in the performing arts and media industry. Amongst our Alumni on the big screen, Wac Arts counts 1996 Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Robo Cop, Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace, Broadchurch) and star of Get Out and Black Panther, Daniel Kaluuya.

“Wac Arts gave me an invaluable experience not only the chance to develop as an actor but gave me an appreciation of all arts ballet, jazz, music. We were encouraged to try everything and to create. I don’t think you get that type of training anywhere else”
Marianne Jean-Baptiste- Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Nominee

TV stars such as The Handmaid’s Tale star OT Fagbenle and Danny Sapani (Penny Dreadful) are also alumni of Wac Arts, alongside two of Eastenders’ Carter Family, Danny Dyer and Maddy Hill.

“I would say [Wac Arts] expanded my view of the world, gave me a sense of the importance of working as a group, listening, working in harmony, working in time with other people, a group of young people coming together to create a common vision, it taught me about openness and compromise and aspiration and the relationship between the audience and the performer and it taught me about improvisation which is one of the best life lessons I have ever had.”
OT Fagbenle, Star of The Handmaid’s Tale

Many of our alumni also appear on stage, including 2014 Tony Award Winner (A Raisin in the Sun) Sophie Okonedo and breakout star of the Old Vic’s Girl from the North Country, Sheila Atim. Our alumni also work behind the stage, such as Director, Playwright and Offie Nominee Che Walker. Recent Diploma graduate Sophia Mackay is appearing in The Grinning Man, after her success in Dirty Dancing and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin. Also currently on the West End is KM Drew Boateng, who is part of the ensemble of Motown: the Musical and the lead role in Hamilton is our very own Jamael Westman who has taken the role of Alexander Hamilton.

Our alumni are not limited to the world of drama; we also have many working in the music industry, including world famous jazz musicians Courtney Pine and Julian Joseph and four Mercury and Mobo Award winners including Ms Dynamite and Zoe Rahman.

“Wac Arts felt like home every week.”
Wac Arts Patron Ms Dynamite, recipient of the Mercury Music Prize, two BRIT Awards and three MOBO awards.

Although many young people do go on to work in the Arts, what young people learn at Wac Arts is confidence and life skills. We have watched thousands of young people go on to have successful careers as youth workers, teachers, lawyers, administrators and entrepreneurs, harnessing their extraordinary potential every year, equipping them to make positive choices for themselves and a positive contribution to society.

“To lead an organisation whose vision is to empower young people to change their world is an incredible privilege. Since its inception it has been an organisation committed to the best possible outcomes for young people, for diversity and for the arts, and it deserves far more of a light to be shone on it. I deeply believe the arts changes and touches humanity for the better and that everyone has a right to have access to it. I am thrilled to have the chance to be part of an extraordinarily talented, dedicated and compassionate team at Wac Arts, committed to developing the extraordinary arts and cultural organisation that our young people so need it to be.”
Karen Napier, Chief Executive, Wac Arts

 

Our building

We believe that young people need and deserve access to great facilities in order to achieve. Since 2000 we have been very fortunate to have our base at the Old Town Hall in London’s Belsize Park. Here we have a complex of three buildings connected by a light and bright atrium space and incorporating a purpose-built performing arts and media block.

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Room hire

Hire space in our beautiful building. Increasingly recognised as one of London’s top venues for performing arts clientele and corporate or private hires the building’s flexibility also enables it to function as a vibrant community arts hub. Whatever the occasion, Wac Arts Events can help to create the perfect setting.

Contact us for more information on room hires and our events management services:

020 7692 5809

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Wac Arts
020 7692 5800

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