Peer Productions

Claire Knight

Company Director


Peer Productions plays and films which genuinely change young people's lives. We are a unique youth arts training company specialising in peer education through theatre and film.  Each year we recruit a group of young volunteers (aged 17 to 24) who train with us, full time, as actors and educators.  These volunteers deliver high quality community arts projects across the South East and beyond, creating educational plays and films on the social issues most relevant to young people.  Previous issues covered include mental health, homophobia, teenage pregnancy, alcohol misuse, and body image. We work tirelessly for a more cohesive society, raising awareness and giving a voice to those young people who are most vulnerable. Our young volunteers are amazing. they work so hard to deliver our messages.  We know our work has impact.  Feedback includes:Between November 2011 and July 2012 over our three tours we have responses from over 1,000 young audience members. Feedback from the Teenage Pregnancy Project shows that 59% of the young audience said that the production taught them new information about contraception and sexually transmitted infections. More than 66% of The Alcohol Project audience said that the play had imparted new information about alcohol and more than 55% said that the play made them more aware of the emotional impact of alcohol abuse.  More than 86% of audience members from The Body Image Project said they think it is a good idea to address body image in schools and 62% said the play taught them about the seriousness of the issues that can surround body image.Audiences: “I have changed my opinions completely. I think that I will now be more kind to people with mental health issues as they aren’t stupid and have feelings like any other human being. I also think that it teaches you to not take advantage of your health.” - Year 10 student.‘The show told us all about the life experiences of young parents and what it was like for them. This was a great opportunity and really helped us to understand what teenage pregnancy might be like. Young teenagers are not emotionally ready for sexual relationships and should wait – the consequences of having a baby will affect the rest of your life.’ - Year 9 student‘Your performance really showed me inside an anorexic's mind- I feel I can understand those people more clearly now.’ - Year 8 Student ‘ Thank you so much for the efforts of you and your team last week.  I personally thought the production [The Teenage Pregnancy Project] was amazing and genuinely students are still talking about it outside of lessons around the school…it certainly has had the impact we hoped for.’  - Teacher‘The Body Image Project’ was a fantastic production which hit home with a  very strong message. The quality of the acting and the medium through which the production was performed was excellent. It was relevant and ‘in touch’ with its audience. I would strongly recommend this as a brilliant way to provide students with a clear message and provoke thought and discussion. – Teacher“Thank you so much for letting us see today’s performance [of The Body Image Project].  We were absolutely blown away by it all.  I can’t think of enough words to say how truly amazing we thought the entire performance was.  It was a privilege to be there and thank you and everyone who contributed to our visit.” Karin Sehmer, High Sheriff of Surrey Volunteers: Many of our full time volunteers apply to Peer Productions having been rejected by drama schools, or they do not yet feel ready to apply.  During the full time gap year with us, volunteers receive a comprehensive training in acting, theatre, film, peer education and workshop leading. They experience life as an active member of a touring theatre company.  Peer Productions’ training is an ideal stepping stone for those who are seeking a career in the arts. Many of our previous volunteers have gone on to be offered places at highly prestigious drama schools, including Central School of Speech and Drama, East 15, Rose Bruford and the American Academy of Drama Arts.  “Peer Productions single-handedly got me into drama school” said 2012 graduate Alex Paterson, now studying at East 15.  To date 57 young people have completed the Peer Productions’ Certificate in Peer Education Through Drama and Film with 53 also completing their Arts Award Gold level 3 arts leadership accreditation.  This year Peer Productions is training a further 12 young people, all of whom are on track to achieve their Gold Arts Award.  In total 47 Surrey young people have trained or are currently training with Peer Productions with the remaining young people relocating or commuting in from across the UK.  83% of our graduates were offered places at a drama school or university of their choice with 12 months of completing their training with us. Peer Productions were recognised for their impact in the local community when they received a Highly Commended KidsCount Award last year following a nomination from Jonathan Lord MP.  In November 2012, the company also won the Youth Volunteering Award at the Children and Young People Now 2012 Awards for The Body Image Project.


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