Grumpy Goldilocks: Week 1 🐻

Our newest course started last week and the team has been hard at work with our latest group of participants – doing all sorts of creative woodwork, painting, and costume design in preparation for our upcoming play – Grumpy Goldilocks and the Three Friendly Bears.

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Join our Festival Training Course!

Benefit claimants aged 16 – 24 (ESA or Universal Credit) can apply to join a festival work experience programme taking place in our new Makerspace in May. Led by professional theatre technicians, this busy but friendly training programme offers unique hands-on experience of a range of practical but transferable skills that can improve your employment prospects and boost your confidence. 

The course is free of charge but only available to young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit.

This 7 day course (running 28th May – 4th June) is aimed to provide participants with practical work experience of running a festival. Linked to the upcoming Bognor Puppet Festival, the group will gain skills in backstage crewing, front-of-house operation, stewarding, health and safety and café operation.

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Check out our two new videos! 🦊

Our most recent one-week course finished on 22nd March and the eight participants produced an amazing short puppet play called What’s Going on in the Garden?. Aimed at primary age children, the play described some of the wildlife that emerges at the start of spring and the team made ingenious 2D puppets including a hedgehog, owl, frog and even chicks being hatched!

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Toilet target reached! 🚽

We’re delighted to report that the Bognor Makerspace crowdfunding appeal has reached its target thanks to the many donations from individuals, charity groups and local councils. Work has started today on installing two super accessible toilets and we hope that they will be ready for use by the end of February.

The Makerspace has also been awarded a grant of £8,650 from the National Communities lottery which will enable the installation of a kitchen and cafe area. These important developments mean we can start making the groundfloor space available for other community users as soon as lockdown restrictions are eased.

January 2021: Hannah’s Blog

“My name is Hannah. I worked with Making Theatre Gaining Skills for 2 weeks. This was to put on a Christmas production stage show for children. When I arrived, it was all about trying new things, as we started from bottom up, including assembling the stage.”

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December 2020: Matthew’s Blog

“Before the course, I felt quite nervous about working with new people but after meeting the team I went ahead and joined up. I’m pleased I did because I’m having lots of fun and have met lots of friendly new people!”

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December 2020: Getting ready for our first course

The team is working hard to get the Makerspace ready for our first course which is due to start on 7th December. Volunteer Tony has more or less heat-proofed the office and IT room so that it’s no longer necessary to wear coats and gloves when using the computers. Another volunteer (John) has wrestled with three donated computers and has got them running so that we should have a network in the office which will certainly improve our efficiency!

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Making Theatre Gaining Skills moves into a new, permanent home! 🎉

Since Making Theatre Gaining Skills started back in 2011 we have spent many years moving between temporary venues of varying degrees of comfort and always searching for a permanent home. We are delighted to announce that we have found a wonderful building in Bognor Regis and moved in at the beginning of October.

It is a large industrial building very conveniently located just two minutes’ walk from Bognor railway station on Longford Road. Owned by Reynolds Furniture, it was until recently used as a furniture showroom. We have taken a lease on the building in partnership with the Aldingbourne Trust and the building will be named The Bognor Makerspace.

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October 2020: Moving into our new home

On Monday 5th October things changed dramatically for Making Theatre Gaining Skills as finally we moved into our new, permanent home. For years the company has moved between temporary homes across West Sussex and experienced all the uncertainty that comes with a transient lifestyle. Sharing facilities with brownies, Zumba dancers and even railway workers; having to put everything into storage so that no one can quite remember what happened to the tool kit or the lighting board plus constant anxiety about how long we might get to stay in each place. Some of our temporary homes have been luxurious, or blessed with supportive landlords, but the biggest problem has been maintaining contact with the hundreds of participants that have attended classes. Now at last we have a home which we can welcome them back to.

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October 2019

The Bognor Institute of Laughter celebrates its second anniversary and is going great guns with regular public shows as well as weekly get-togethers. Our most recent gig at the Waverley was another sell-out with hilarious sketches (several written by our members) as well as stand-up performers visiting from Matt’s Comedy Club in Worthing. The Institute is developing quite a following and will soon need to look for bigger premises as we keep having to turn people away!