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‘Mara Ya Pilli’ - meaning 'Second Chance' in Swahili

This is a theatre initiative devised in collaboration with Hathi Productions. The Mara Ya Pilli’ project sets out to test and prove how young people can manage and co-ordinate a theatre programme, taking inspiration from the concept of a ‘Moot’ (term for an assembly of people sharing power and decision making)

1st August 2009 - 28th February 2010

The overall aim of this project is to deliver Theatre/Music/Comedy activities by involving young people in every aspect of its development from planning, promotion and evaluation to performance and presentation.

Hathi’s mission statement is: ’Integration not segregation through the arts’.  As an organisation they are committed to being ‘youth led’ and ‘youth driven’ stating that ’everything we do reflects our voice.’  Ownership, decision making, creative freedom and challenging conventional methods are some of the key themes that run through there approach to both art-form and practice.

There are approximately 12 young people in the ‘core’ team and a further 30 involved on other aspects of the ‘MOOT’. Although the key members define themselves as being ‘British Asian’ they eschew any labels; "we have been labelled diverse ethnic, multi cultural, but pigeon-holing doesn’t help."  Evidence of this comes through the company choosing to work in predominantly white/rural areas across Leicester Shire.

  • Key developments include:

    • Establishing national partnerships

    Through developing a theatre show entitled ‘ 1942’ with ‘emerging’ actors aged 16-19. This has resulted in connecting with Find Your Talent (Hampshire) who are supporting a 'Mara Ya Pilli' residency at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.

    • Developing a rural touring project

    ‘High Street Musical’ attracted 128 young people to audition during Autumn half term 2009, which has since toured various village halls and pubs across Blaby District (Leicester Shire).

    • Programming events at key venues

    Richard Attenborough Centre (Nov 2009)

    ‘PYAAR HAI’ ( Love is..)

    Leicester Comedy Festival (Feb 2010).

    Stand-up show currently being developed.

    Marketing and promotion-Leicester Mercury, BBC Radio Leicester and The Guardian

    • Participate in theatre workshop sessions and scheduled productions
    • Receive careers advice, and peer mentoring
    • Input into planning and programming events and activities.
    • Gain accreditation through NOCN Certificate for Progression and AQA  Diploma Creative Media course options
    • Access events
    • Develop own skills, talents, awareness and self esteem

    EVALUATION methods

    • Audience/Participants questionnaire
    • Vox pops- recorded
  • The project will continue use the ‘MOOT’ model to organise and plan democratically, plus many of the members are still in F/T education so this method can react to personal changes.

  • Ashika (16):

    I’m responsible for marketing any new projects. At school, lets just say I was not into the arts but since joining Hathi my world has turned upside down!. Within the space of two months I have gone from being someone with no experience to performing at the Curve theatre, becoming a Cultural Ambassador for Leicester Shire, to getting my first paid acting job and making an advert for a national NSPCC advertising campaign. Through Find Your Talent I have been able to take control of what I want to do and through Hathi burst onto the creative scene.

    Sound Man! (15):

    That’s me, the sound Man, actor, dancer and musician and composer. Can’t believe I’ve been able to find exposure and an outlet for my style of music, not what you would normally hear in school! Its all down to this Find Your Talent thing and the way people can independently express themselves. Heavy lyrics, Man.