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We are Wac Arts

A charity that has been driven by the needs of young people and the community for over 40 years. Wac Arts lifts generation after generation of young people, empowering them with the life skills that only the arts can offer. We have a commitment to those who face barriers to opportunity, using the infinite power of the arts to unleash the extraordinary potential of young people.

“Wac Arts means an expanded life. A better life. A chance to open up with likeminded people and grow as a person. That’s what I felt in the eleven years I’ve been here”
John Gaine, Senior Wac Arts student and Wac Arts Ambassasor

Wac Arts offers fully inclusive programmes that celebrate diversity, with classes significantly subsidised to make them accessible to all young people aged 5-26. Providing weekend, evening and holiday programmes as well as a unique full time professional training course and a vibrant disability and inclusion programme, Wac Arts is rock solid in support of empowering young people to change their worlds through the arts.

Our Home – A 140-year-old grade II listed building in the heart of Camden

Wac Arts is based in the Old Town Hall, Belsize Park, in the borough of Camden, North London. Wac Arts is a creative hub where young people build confidence, artists connect, and other arts and cultural organisations thrive. Sharing our home with a variety of Building Partners allows for boundless collaboration, creativity and opportunity for our young people and the community.

Our home reflects the diversity of our world and celebrates our heritage of performance and participation. Our community is bound by people who will stop at nothing to inspire young people through lifelong learning and the arts.

“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 it’s a very creative space and its lovely”
Damian Lewis, actor (on rehearsing The Goat at Wac Arts, March 2017)

Our Alumni – Young people empowered to make their mark on the world

Many young people have marked their presence in the performing arts and media industry going on from Wac Arts to become arts professionals. Our programmes help young people build their skills for employment and personal development in and through digital media, music, theatre and dance.

As important as those who have go onto work in the arts, 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.

Statement of Intent

For over 40 years Wac Arts has enriched the lives of young people from diverse backgrounds.  Our belief in an inclusive society has shaped our work but the response to the killing of George Floyd has brought into sharp focus that we need to do more to create an organisation that reflects the community it serves.

We have considered where we can make the most difference and:

  • We commit to increasing the breadth of voices that impact our decision making and will continue to develop our Youth Forum into a formal sub-committee of the Board by July 2021. 
  • By next year, we will also create a Board Apprentice scheme to nurture talent from an under-represented group.
  • We will build on our programme of community curated work so that our artistic focus increasingly reflects our community’s interests.
  • We will hold unconscious bias and privilege training annually and formalise it into our induction processes by this October.
  • We will start a programme of reverse mentoring to provide opportunities for the Board to hear, first-hand, the lived experience of Wac Arts students.
  • We will increase representation across the Charity by adapting our recruitment practices. For example, advertising roles in non-traditional forums and ensuring broader representation on interview panels.  Our initial focus will be diversifying the Board by 2021. 
  • We will maintain our focus by making diversity a standing Board agenda item, using improved employee data to track our progress.

To bring about these improvements, we will provide forums for those across our local and regional community to share their views.  Our first step will be to consult with all staff.

“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)

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 on 020 7692 5809.

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“Thank you (Wac Arts) for letting me think differently”

BAFTA winner Daniel Kaluuya
(Sicario, Black Mirror, Get Out,
Marvel’s Black Panther)

“I can’t express enough that if it wasn’t for Wac Arts I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe it my whole career”

Television Award winner Danny Dyer
(Eastenders, Human Traffic,
Mean Machine, Football Factory)