Half Moon: inspiring young people through performing arts

Half Moon offers low-cost drama classes for children and young people, including those with complex disabilities. The theatre company turned to Charity Bank for a loan to buy its venue after rent rises put its future in jeopardy.

Social Problem

Drama classes can increase children’s confidence and self-esteem, as well as being a lot of fun. However, cuts in school budgets and curriculum constraints mean that young people often can’t take part in drama unless they can afford private classes. Children with disabilities face additional barriers.

Solution

Half Moon offers low-cost theatre workshops for children and young people. Participants learn in supportive environments, from experienced theatre tutors. The venue is wheelchair accessible; all of the youth groups are open to disabled people and Half Moon also runs a group specifically aimed at young people with complex disabilities.

Loan

An unexpected increase in Half Moon’s rent threatened the theatre’s future. Thankfully, with the help of a £240,000 Charity Bank loan, Half Moon was able to buy its venue. Owning the building also meant Half Moon was able to raise an additional £1 million from other sources to renovate and reconfigure the theatre.

Impact

Half Moon has seen a 75% increase in footfall since it bought and refurbished its venue. It now runs seven youth theatre groups and has grown to become the UK’s leading venue and touring company for young people. It also offers a wealth of other support for young people interested in drama, including work experience placements, performances in schools and libraries, and training sessions for teachers. In total, Half Moon engages with 50,000 people each year.

“As a charity with an ethical policy, having the option to borrow from an ethical lender is really important. It not only stays within our ethos but also sends out a positive message. Being given money by Charity Bank is a seal of approval for the work you do. It helps smaller investors and donors to be confident that any money they give to you will be put to good use.”

Jackie Eley, Administrative Director, Half Moon
Youth Theatre Group London