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We're celebrating 25 years of Taking Part with a joyous season of work created with our local communities. Find out more.

Young Vic Taking Part is undertaking a radical two-year theatre-in-education programme called INNOVATE, designed to ask the question:

How can the arts enable students to engage, learn and thrive across all their subjects? 

On this page, you'll find more information about the project, including information about the schools, artists and educational and cultural experts who make up INNOVATE.   

Shereen Jasmin Phillips, Director of Taking Part:

“INNOVATE was born out of a simple question – ‘how do we make children excited to learn?’ Our aim is to radically centre creative ways of teaching subjects. I am so inspired by the team of artists, teachers, advisors and producers who we have assembled to deliver this project, which is epic in scope and aspiration. As I look ahead, I imagine a world in which every UK arts organisation could be partnered with a local place of learning to help future generations thrive in their school lives.”

5 pupils in school uniform in black wall theatre room, engaging in a group activity


We are partnered with two extraordinary secondary schools in Lambeth and Southwark: Dunraven School and South Bank University Academy. The schools are committed to exploring the potential for embedding creativity across all parts of school life.

  • Dunraven School


    Dunraven is a 4-18, All Through School that aims to deliver 'Excellence for All' by providing a challenging, supporting and enriching education that enables students of all backgrounds and abilities to thrive.

    Dunraven believes in the importance of a well-rounded education as a central part of the development of a well-rounded person. An education which is inclusive and provides all students with an equal chance of becoming successful. To achieve this, Dunraven's curriculum is broad and balanced: their young people have access to an education that responds to their needs and recognises their interests. Dunraven wants all their learners to make excellent progress and gain strong outcomes as a result of their studies.

  • South Bank University Academy


    At South Bank University Academy, students gain the knowledge, build the character and have the experiences that lead them to be the changemakers in their world; living a good life and improving the lives of others. They will create a better future.


We are collaborating with artists, teachers, students and parents, and we want students to be co-creators on their learning journey. The two years will be a continual dialogue between us all to explore how the arts can help students to thrive at school. 


6 artists

We have engaged six multi-disciplinary artists who are passionate about using creativity as a teaching tool. They are embedded into school life, and bring exciting and varied skills to the classroom, from comedy, improvisation and drama, to art and dance. 

  • Mikey Bharj


    Mikey Bharj is an actor/screenwriter/director/editor/musician and award-winning stand-up comedian from London, United Kingdom.

    Born in Harrow (London), Mikey propelled to comedy in his early teens. During his education, Mikey worked as a professional comedian on the comedy circuit, touring universities and comedy clubs throughout London & Europe. In 2008, Mikey landed his first role in The Bill playing an unstable young man who falls victim to racial profiling Since then, Mikey, continued to pursue his craft for screen acting professionally.

    In 2012, Mikey won the London Comedy Store’s prestigious King Gong award, winning an opportunity to open for Hollywood actress Sarah Silver during her UK appearance. In 2017, Mikey co-wrote TV-Show Pranksterz for ITV2, which focused on creative hidden camera pranks designed to test the general public on social issues. In 2018, Mikey joined as a scriptwriter for BBC on the animated Sitcom Sticky, created by Fonejacker creator Ed Tracey and starring Tom Hardy, Kavan Novak and Javone Prince.

    In 2019, Mikey played the role of Ice Medic in the Terminator sequel opposite Mackenzie Davis (BlackMirror) in Terminator: Dark Fate, directed by legendary Tim Miller (Love, Death and Robots/ Deadpool). Mikey has been dedicated to working with many communities. In 2019, he was awarded The Jack Petchy Award for “Outstanding Work with Young People”, given out to only one candidate per year.

    Since 2020, Mikey teaches a popular Online Drama Workshop every Sunday on Eventbrite in association with The Greater London Youth Foundation, a registered charity, as well as providing Screen Writing and Video Editing tutorials, in association with Soapbox Islington Youth Centre, a digital learning centre for young people. Currently, since January 2021, Mikey produces a podcast streamed across all platforms entitled, The Mikey Bharj Show, in association with The Greater London Youth Foundation, interviewing fascinating influential people who inspire young people to do great things.

  • Jordana Golbourn


    Jordana Golbourn is a Community Theatre Maker. For over a decade her work has taken place in schools, theatres and women's prisons across the U.K., New York, Thailand and Germany for companies such as Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation.

    Her work draws on the personal, community and political narratives of the artists she collaborates with, celebrating their individuality and imaginations with a process driven by play, curiosity and honesty. 

  • Lerato Islam


    Lerato is an Applied Theatre Facilitator and Creative Educator, specializing in work with refugee and asylum seeking communities.

    Lerato spends most of her time designing alternative education curriculums for various cohorts of young people, with organisations such as Springboard Youth Academy and Street Child United, as well as delivering regular applied theatre workshops across London, in collaboration with The Kiln Theatre, The Arcola and Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust.

    Lerato is passionate about the positive impact the arts can have on young people, and it's ability to enhance not only their development, but also their understanding of the world around them. At the heart of her practice, Lerato strives to use Drama and the arts as a tool for sustainable and critical social change.

  • Sheryl Malcolm


    Sheryl has over 20 years experience of delivering and coordinating a variety of education and arts projects within statutory, community and voluntary settings across London. She has worked as a Participation Manager, Freelance Theatre Director and Facilitator. Sheryl thrives on working in collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that the creative process is effectively delivered and participants can wholly engage, enjoy and transform.

    Sheryl has successfully worked with diverse communities; delivering projects within schools and arts organisations - National Theatre Education and Roundhouse Studios. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and University of East London. Sheryl is a Trustee of Little Fish Theatre Company.

  • Joseph Prestwich


    Joseph Prestwich is an actor, improviser, and theatre-maker from Blackpool, Lancashire. He is Assistant Director at ShakeItUp Theatre, a company that specialises in improvised Shakespeare, and he performs regularly in their flagship show at venues across the UK.

    His improvisation skills have taken him from Poland to Pentonville Prison, where the company runs a educational improvisation programme for inmates. Joseph also works frequently with German theatre company Theater Frankfurt as an actor and translator. His first play, "Goethe + Christiane", has been performed in the UK, Italy, and most recently, at an online theatre festival in Germany.

    He is currently finishing a PhD thesis on German theatrical culture in Britain at King's College London, and has taught on the German Studies course there.

  • Amy Robinson


    Amy is freelance Dance Artist and Educator whose work is grounded in a Contemporary dance technique. She initially trained at Roehampton University, gaining a BA Hons in Dance Studies before going on to complete a graduate internship at TrinityLaban conservatoire.

    She specialises in delivering inclusive dance in education and cross-curricular dance projects in schools across London. Working both with schools independently and in partnership with large arts organisations such as TrinityLaban, Royal Academy of Dance, Young Vic and Greenwich Dance. She is a skilled facilitator and educator who is driven by her passion for dance and movement. Her delivery focuses on creatively facilitating participant’s ideas to lead lively, fun, and engaging sessions, whilst championing her artform in an energetic and inclusive way. Beyond the school setting Amy works in a range of community and inclusion settings where she teaches dance in grassroots community classes, contemporary technique, and dance for health projects. Amy believes passionately in the power of dance to transform lives, build confidence, communication skills, teamwork and self-esteem.

    As a choreographer (for both young people and professionals) her work has been shown at venues such as The Place, Bonnie Bird Theatre (Laban), Southbank Centre, Lyric Theatre (Hammersmith), Chisenhale Dance Space, The Painted Hall (Greenwich), Eltham Palace and The National Maritime Museum.


6 headshots of the 6 visiting project associates

Six Visiting Project Associates will work across both schools to support INNOVATE by delivering specialist workshops, ad hoc project support and bespoke creative opportunities. The INNOVATE Visiting Project Associates are Anyebe Godwin, Bruno Correia, Nadège René, TD. Moyo, Vicky Moran and Vincent Shiels.

  • Anyebe Godwin


    Anyebe Godwin is an Actor, Writer and Facilitator who trained at Rose Bruford College. 

    As a Facilitator and Director Anyebe has worked at Company 3, Theatre Peckham, The Unicorn Theatre, The Kiln Theatre, Yard Theatre and Generation Arts. 

    Theatre credits include, Foxes (Defibrillator Theatre/Theatre 503), Amsterdam (Actor’s Touring Company, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Orange Tree Theatre), Little Baby Jesus (JMK Award 2019 Orange Tree Theatre), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (UK Tour, Touring Consortium and Rose Theatre Kingston); Manifesto (Oval House), Four Minutes Twelve Seconds (Trafalgar Studios/Hampstead Theatre), Serious Heroes (Old Vic New Voices). 

    TV includes: Dreaming Whilst Black, Autopsy: Last Hours of Notorious B.I.G.; Doctors and The Evermoor Chronicles. 

  • Bruno Correia


    Bruno is an actor, musician and facilitator. He has been featured in tv commercials including Tesco's Christmas advert, 2020 and Sky One’s television series Delicious alongside Dawn French, Emilia Fox and Iain Glen. Bruno is the leading artist and project director for all of Pan Intercultural Arts Weapon of Choice’s (WOC) work in alternative provision. 
    He is an experienced practitioner with a passion for making sure young people are heard. He’s deeply committed to working with young people that have been excluded from mainstream education. Bruno has led artistic residencies in Pupil Referral Units for over 5 years. He was at the forefront of Pan’s first venture into school residencies and has delivered projects in Haverstock School, Hampstead School, Acland Burghley, Saint Gabriel’s College and several workshops in The UCL Academy, Highbury Grove School, Sacred Heart School and City Heights to name a few. Bruno never gives up on young people and believes that they all have potential to be successful leaders. He combines youth work values and principles, artistic excellence and a belief in all young people in his practice. 

    He has experience training young people to facilitate support groups and believes in giving meaningful responsibility and experience to young leaders.

  • Nadège René


    Nadège is a writer and assistant drama facilitator and director for the RADA Youth Company. Nadège has recently received a London Writers Award for her forthcoming novel The Spirit of the Ceiba Tree and funding from Arts Council England. For over eight years, she has taught, coached and mentored children and young people who have been marginalised from mainstream education. Nadège uses writing to support young people to develop their voices, cultivate a creative way of engaging with and making sense of the world around them, gently guiding them in the direction of their curiosity. In her writing, she explores generational trauma and the parallels between collective and individual experiences of overcoming. Her forthcoming novel explores the legacies of colonisation, land and memory and questions where healing can be found in 2014 London.

  • TD. Moyo


    TD. Moyo is a director, teacher, performer and South London activist with a Masters in Contemporary Performance Practice from the University of Kent.  

    She believes in theatre's capacity to illicit genuine change and social reform and is the Artistic director of Mwarsha Featre, a community-based theatre company for emerging work and social engagement. Most recently, she has worked on new work at the National, the Royal Opera house and the Royal Court. 

    TD. Moyo has extensive experience working within theatre and community participation and is a passionate advocate for accessibility and transparency within the theatre industry.  

    Everybody deserves access, the more diverse theatre becomes the better our creative output will become. TD has produced and directed workshops around the country tackling social issues such as Gun and Knife crime, drug abuse and gentrification. TD believes in dope stories, writing which challenges and conversations which travel from stages to living rooms. 

    She is currently a resident director at the Almeida Theatre. 

    Her theatre and opera credits include: 

    As director, theatre includes: Kind Regards (Royal Opera House [virtual]), Caste-ing (Noveau Riche/Barbican),Dark & Lovely (Rose, Kingston); 32 Peak St. (Tristan Bates); Fifty Years (Theatre Royal, Stratford East); Mind Body & Soul (Bussey Building); Dolla (Aphra Studio, University of Kent). 

    As writer & director, theatre includes: Don’t Kill Kola (Lyric, Hammersmith), FEELS (Lyric, Hammersmith); Jungle [& producer] (Courtyard); Scene (UK tour). 

    As resident director, theatre includes: The Doctor (Almeida/Tour). 

    As Associate/Resident/Assistant director, theatre includes: AFTERLIFE (National),The Knife of Dawn (Royal Opera House),Beyond the Cannon (RADA),The Doctor (Adelaide Festival, AU)Scenes with girls (Royal Court),The Diary of Anne Frank (Headlong); Lovebirds (Aphra Studio, University of Kent). 

    TD is currently a resident director at The Almeida. 



  • Vicky Moran


    Vicky is a freelance theatre director and community artist based in London. She has worked extensively with venues and companies across the UK in both professional and community settings including: Donmar Warehouse, The Old Vic, Soho Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, Clean Break and Theatre 503. She is an Associate Artist for Jerwood Arts and Lead Artist of In Her Strength (a long-term theatre project for women with an experience of homelessness). Vicky loves working with young people, and has led creative projects in schools, PRU’s, young offenders prisons, youth theatres as well as internationally with refugee artists. 

  • Vincent Shiels


    Vincent Shiels is a South London based actor, director, teacher and therapist. He brings with him a wealth of teaching experience, having taught in Primary and Secondary schools, 6th Form Colleges, Stage schools, Drama schools and Spotlight. Born in Ireland he trained at The Royal Irish Academy of Music and The Gaiety School of Acting before moving to London to study The Science of Acting under the tutelage of Sam Kogan. As a performer Vincent has performed in theatre, on television, film and radio in Ireland, throughout the UK and mainland Europe. Recent projects include productions for Apple TV, the BFI and BBC Radio.     

    Directing work includes productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, National Theatre Connections plays at The Albany Deptford and the Minerva in Chichester, The Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith and The Bridewell, London. Vincent has also written numerous plays for young people in schools which have been performed at the BAC. 

    Vincent is a qualified play therapist, having trained with Place2Be in London. He works with groups of SEN students and provides one to one sessions dealing with mental health issues. 

    Vincent is passionate about using the creative arts to help students find their natural talents and learning how to express themselves.    


Our aim is to work in partnership with teachers and students to embed new creative ways of teaching and learning in all subjects. We are using theatre-making, dance, music, drama and film to collaborate on exciting, fun and immersive activities that create new learning experiences for students. 


Gallery of six headshots of the people who are project associates. They are all smiling and looking straight towards the camera.

We've assembled a team of experts from the worlds of education and culture to guide the project and hold our aims to account. Between them, they have nearly 75 years experience in arts and education to bring to the project. 

  • Dr Sylvan Baker


    Sylvan has been a practitioner and researcher working across the fields of applied theatre, socially engaged arts and social justice for the past 30 years. Their practice has taken place across the UK and globally in sites in Brazil, and the USA, in a diverse range of contexts and communities and has a specific interest in international interventions in site of conflict and transitional justice.

    Before coming to Central, Sylvan was Artistic Director of Youth Action’s Rainbow Factory, the largest cross community Arts project in N. Ireland. From 2000-2006, they were Associate Director of London Bubble Theatre company where they worked on participatory projects with children, young people and adults and on Bubble’s intergenerational promenade theatre performances. Sylvan completed a MA in Drama, Applied Theatre at Central in 2007. In 2005, they began working with the arts and social justice research centre, People’s Palace Projects, (PPP) where I coordinated the UK partnerships projects between Brazilian Social Project AfroReggae and arts organisations from across the UK including the Barbican; Southbank Centre; Theatre Royal Stratford East; Contact, Manchester; The Lawnmowers and The Sage, Gateshead.

    They became Associate Director of PPP in 2010 and completed a practice research PhD on my work with AfroReggae in 2014. Sylvan is an Associate Artist for the Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine. 

  • Darren Chetty


    Darren Chetty is a writer, and lecturer at University College London. He taught in primary schools for twenty years. Darren has worked as an artist in residence in schools and led philosophy projects for children and adults.

    He has published academic work on philosophy, education, racism, children’s literature and hip-hop culture. He is a contributor to the bestselling book, The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla (Unbound). Darren is co-author, with Jeffrey Boakye, of What Is Masculinity? Why Does It Matter? And Other Big Questions (Wayland).

    He co-authored, with Adam Ferner, How To Disagree: Negotiating Difference in a Divided World (Quarto) and co-edited, with Judith Suissa, Critical Philosophy of Race and Education (Routledge). Darren writes, with Karen Sands O’Connor, a regular column for Books for Keeps, entitled Beyond the Secret Garden? 

  • Kay Rufai


    Kay Rufai is a Photographer, Poet, Filmmaker, Author, Mental Health researcher and founder of the internationally acclaimed S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys projects. He is currently the West Midlands Police Artist in residence for Coventry City of Culture, using creative arts to improve relationships between police and criminalised young people.

    His work spans the past 8 years in a handful of countries including the UK, USA, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Germany, Scandinavia, Mexico, Nigeria and Colombia. His work explores themes of masculinity, identity, mental health, serious youth violence and community cohesion through art, photography, educational workshops, residencies, training and public events.

    A great deal of his work has directly engaged diverse communities, young people in custody, at-risk youth, refugee and displaced groups of people as well as collaboratively creating bodies of work with them.

  • Dr Javeria K. Shah


    A Sociologist specialising in Visual and Social Cultures, Dr Javeria K. Shah is an artist, academic, and educationalist, driven by the pursuit of social justice. Their work is interdisciplinary and aligns with the visual arts, sociology, policy, and education fields.

    Their research draws on person-centred methodologies that incorporate visual anthropology and narrative approaches to interrogate and re-conceptualise societal positioning(s) of the individual and their self-identity formation.

    In 2018, they set up the Social Performance Network which is a research and practice-orientated platform that aims to extend focus on issues surrounding socialisation and its “performance” and enactment in social world contexts.

  • Dr Vicky Storey


    Dr Vicky Storey is a Director at Chol, a live story-making company based in Yorkshire, England.

    Vicky’s practice focuses on dramatic pedagogies and teacher development. Her recent PhD research questions how Chol’s flagship story-making process, Imaginary Communities, can position children and teachers as Equal Playmakers.

    It considers how this ‘way of being’ in the classroom supports teachers to disrupt and resist pressures of performativity that can lead to overtly teacher-led and outcome-driven practices. Vicky’s passion for research drives an ongoing commitment to reflective practice and evaluation in the arts and education sector.

    Her unique position as practitioner, researcher, and leader of an arts organisation offers nuanced insights into the challenges and possibilities for professional learning in these spaces.


We are working across the Year 7 and 8 curricular over two years to deliver meaningful learning and research. Our hope is that in both schools the project will act as a catalyst for change beyond these two years by delivering a sustainable and replicable model. 


4 pupils in school uniform in black wall theatre room, engaging in a group activity

This project is bigger than just us. We are using it to interrogate the civic responsibility of artists and arts organisations in our local boroughs. 

We are working with Royal Holloway, University of London to research, analyse, document, and reflect on the work we do. The project and outcomes will be unique to each of the two schools we are working with, but we will be finding tangible ways of sharing our transferable learnings, so that as many students as possible can benefit in the future.

As INNOVATE Researcher, Dr Yvonne Robinson will document, analyse and evaluate the successes, challenges and future of the flagship learning project. Their research aims to explore the programme’s impact on teaching and learning approaches as well as the ability of the arts to influence students to understand, engage with and be excited by the concepts, modules and subjects they are studying. It will also find tangible ways to share the transferable learnings to benefit as many students as possible in the future.

INNOVATE is supported by The Rix-Thompson-Rothenberg Foundation, Newcomen Collett Foundation and the John Thaw Foundation.

Photography: Dylan Marc Verley