In March 2014, we won a large-scale wellbeing and arts commission from Kent County Council’s Arts Development Team, Kent County Council Public Health and ROH Bridge, to deliver a flagship public health intervention for 100 vulnerable young people in Dartford. The project was designed to support the young people explore the Six Ways to Wellbeing, a NHS supported list of six behaviours which have been proven to improve mental health, emotional resilience and increase mental wellbeing.

As well as supporting the young people identify behaviours and activities that they wanted to adopt in their own lives, the programme also offered them the opportunity to create, rehearse and perform a whole new theatre production, The Night Writer, which they performed for friends and family at the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford and the Rose Theatre at the Rose Bruford College in Sidcup. The final performance included physical theatre, large-scale puppetry, original live new music (composed and performed by the young people), and contemporary dance routines.

By completion of the project:

  • 78% of the participating young people said they were more confident and had more friends as a result of the project.
  • 86% of the participating young people said they had adopted at least 2 of the Six Ways to Wellbeing into their daily lives.
  • 52 of the participating young people had achieved a Bronze Arts Award.
  • Six months after completion of the project, 67%, of those who replied to a follow-up questionnaire said that they were still using the Six Ways to Wellbeing, and of those, 68% said they felt it had ‘improved or significantly improved’ their mental wellbeing over the six months since the project completed.
'It was the first time I got to see drama as something for myself and something I could actively participate in and enjoy.'
— Tef - Icon Youth Theatre (Medway)
'Icon has been ahead of the curve in understanding that the arts have a role to play in bringing people together, helping them be heard by telling their own stories in their own way, and in the process creating a sense of pride in place and space.'
— Lyn Gardner, Theatre Journalist
★★★★ ‘It is easy to take for granted the acting skills of a top theatre company. But when actors embody characters as superbly as this, you can’t help but notice.’
— The New Statesman
78% of the participating young people said they were more confident and had more friends as a result of the project
— Six Ways To Wellbeing, young people's wellbeing project
★★★★ ‘A sharp, impeccably performed and blazingly impassioned piece of theatre…simply terrific.’
— The Times
‘Icon Theatre has given me new friends, taught me new skills and challenged my lack of self-belief’
— Community Performer

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