Volunteering with Crooked House Theatre Company under the European Solidarity Corps programme

Volunteer as a European Solidarity Corps participant

ESC 10: Acting Together Project – 01/09/2023 to 31/08/2024
Email: crookedhouse.applications@gmail.com

Application deadline: Friday, 13th January 2023 at midnight (Irish time)

What is the Acting Together project?

Acting Together is a European Solidarity Corps project. It is a volunteering programme based in Newbridge, Ireland for young actors aged between 21 and 30. The volunteers work with our theatre company, providing free drama and film-making workshops to teenagers in our community.

The volunteers support all areas of the theatre company, from administration to directing plays.

In return, the project will train the actors in the process of drama facilitation and directing so that they can enhance their employability by gaining valuable new skills.

Who should apply?

You need to be an actor, and to understand acting techniques. This is because you will be facilitating theatre-making with young people and directing them in theatre pieces. Therefore, trained actors are best suited to be volunteers on this project.
This project promotes the European Solidarity Corps goal of inclusion and diversity by selecting volunteers from countries and cultures whose backgrounds are different to ours in Ireland. We are interested in all trained actors, or experienced professional actors, from any country in the EU, and beyond the EU, who are aged 21 to 30. We especially welcome applications from young actors and theatre-makers:

  • who have ethnic, migrant, Alack, Asian, North African, Arabian backgrounds;
  • who are openly LGBTQI+. Their presence here models and makes visible diversity for your young people with whom they work closely;
  • from Eastern Europe (Poland, the Balkans, former Soviet countries, Slavic countries etc);
  • from Turkey, from the Baltic states, from Russia and Euro-Asia;
  • who are available to come to Ireland for a full year (not just part of a year) from September 1st 2023 to August 31st 2024.
  • Are social, outgoing, friendly young people who can live independently; who are curious and ask questions; and who can take initiative.

Why This Project?

Young people who have trained as actors in several countries face barriers getting into a career in theatre-making. In many cases they were the brave ones, who decide not to do Engineering, Law, or another subject that would make them employable. They choose acting. We are honouring their bravery in making this choice. In some countries, employment is marginal at best for actors. Our project aims to increase their access to the job market by training them in youth drama facilitation, a skill that enhances their actor-training.


This year-long programme would also show them how to set up a youth theatre and youth drama project when they return home, as well as how to use drama as a tool for social change in their own countries. Thus, they would be better equipped to promote inclusion, overcome economic barriers, and other barriers linked to education and training in their home countries.


The volunteers will return to their countries, hopefully inspired by the liberal values we espouse in our theatre work, and enriched by the knowledge of using theatre to effect social change, to make projects of their own that promote these values and aspire to change society for the better in their communities.

What work will volunteers do?

Volunteers will ‘shadow’ or support professionals in the areas of: 

  •  Drama facilitation 
  •  Theatre Directing
  • Project Administration
  • Filmmaking 
  • Performing/Acting

They will take part in a full training programme on drama facilitation and directing. They will be able to facilitate their own workshops and direct plays on their own, having spent some time observing, and then working (under supervision and support) to run workshops in pairs.

Most volunteers will practice and develop such skills as:

  • youth drama facilitation
  • theatre-making with young people
  • youth theatre administration
  • performing in English
  • creative collaboration

Some volunteers will also practice:

  • website maintenance
  • graphic design people
  • filmmaking.

Who will volunteers work with?

This is a solidarity project. That means that the project is designed to have a positive impact in our local community. We need the help of volunteers to achieve this. Our positive impact will be on the lives of young people aged from 11 to 25 in County Kildare in Ireland.

Crooked House works with young people who come to our centre for drama workshops and to make theatre projects. We also work with young people in the community, where we go to give workshops (e.g. to schools and youth clubs). Most of the young people with whom we work are in the 14 to 17 age range. We do not work with children.

In our centre we offer drama workshops, we devise plays, and we rehearse work for performance. The young people come to separate workshops, each one tailored to their age and interests. Workshops are in the evening time and at weekends. There are between 16 and 26 young people in each workshop. Therefore, a lot of the volunteering activity happens in evenings and at weekends.

Crooked House also visits youth clubs, schools and youth projects where we deliver either once-off drama workshops, or more usually, 10-week drama programmes or a programme for the full year (once a week). In all these cases the drama work focuses on helping the young people develop resilience, acquire performance skills, and re-learn the skills needed for active citizenship. We have published material online about how we think drama does this (and it can be accessed here.  You can also read about it, and the type of drama activities that we do, on the Drama for Youth Works website

You can see a lot of the performance work that we have done over the years on our Crooked House You Tube Channel 

Project Activities: what will volunteers learn?

They will learn about the theory and practice of youth drama facilitation.
There is a part-time training programme delivered every week to all volunteers. They will learn:

  • methods and techniques of drama facilitation;
  • working creatively with young people
  • strategies for devising and creating work;
  • effective planning of workshops;
  • safety and ethical issues;
  • theatre for social change;
  • using theatre to raise awareness of social justice issues;
  • developing a drama programme for young people
  • running a young actor’s agency
  • running a youth theatre.

 

They will take part in theatre-making, developing their skills in performing in English. Some of the work will be in international groups and other projects will be with their Irish peers. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with Irish theatre-makers in order to:

  • rehearse and stage scenes from classical work in English (including Shakespeare);
  • rehearse and stage scenes from contemporary Irish playwrights;
  • create a post-dramatic and documentary-theatre performance about themselves and their concerns, to be staged for an Irish audience and live streamed;
  • create a 30-minute performance for schools, that will be staged in several schools in the region;
  • there may be opportunities for volunteers to take part in plays being rehearsed and staged by Kildare Youth Theatre.

Volunteers will learn how to direct plays and performances with young people. For the first 5 months they will show experienced professional directors, attending rehearsals and perhaps acting as Assistant Director, Support Director or Stage Manager. There will be opportunities to do this for:

  • a Shakespearean production
  • a new play especially written for young people and supported by Britain’s National Theatre in a project called Connections.
  • in every weekly workshop young people will devise and perform short scenes by which they learn to act an collaborate.

Volunteers will find out here how to use feedback and how to direct those short scenes. From January to June, the work of shadowing will continue, but from now, volunteers will also co-direct their own small-scale projects with young people. They will work in pairs on co-directing a one-hour contemporary script from one of the following sources:

 
 
  • Crooked House’s collection of new work for young people
  • Any play from their own culture that might be attractive to do with young people in Ireland
  • A classical one-act play that they admire, and think would be suitable.
  • A devised piece of new theatre made in collaboration with the young people.
 

All plays will be staged for the public, in very small audience numbers in the intimate setting of our own workshop room.
They will be staged during June Fest, a community festival in Newbridge (https://www.junefest.ie/).

They will also learn about theatre project administration and project support – managing attendance registers, workshop planning, scheduling, and email communications with our partners.

  • It will include creating content for our social media, as well as reporting formally on events and projects. They will also have a regular session on understanding European and other funding mechanisms, such as Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps.
 
  • Some of the volunteers will manage and run Crooked House’s Young Actors’ Agency. They will maintain communication between agents and young people, organising filming for auditions, and update members profiles on the website.
 
  • Other volunteers will support our international projects (Erasmus+) by recruiting young people for the projects, helping to make project learning materials, liaising with partners, and assisting with training and hosting projects.
 
  • Producing events will be a feature of the administration work. This involves planning to organise venues, participants, scheduling, marketing and evaluation.
 

Some volunteers will form part of the digital media team. They will have specific skills or third level training in filmmaking and website design and maintenance. One will have graphic design skills. They will:

  • Shoot and edit films with our members
  • Shoot and edit photography, documenting events and activities
  • Assist with graphic deign for all our projects
  • Maintain websites
  • Maintain social media accounts and generate creative content.

Accommodation

 

Our project takes place in the town of Newbridge in County Kildare, Ireland. Because accommodation is very expensive in Ireland (and especially in Newbridge) we locate our volunteers with families that we know. It is usually not possible, financially, to rent houses for volunteers only, as the cost is well beyond the budget that we receive, and we also must rent it for a full year.

Therefore, we find accommodation for our ESC volunteers and we have done so in family homes. You will have a bedroom of your own. You will have the use of the kitchen to cook your own meals. It is important to take note that the family does not cook for you. We will give you a monthly budget of €450 to pay for food and other necessities (this amount includes the ‘pocket money allowance). In some cases, there will be two volunteers in each house (each with their own rooms). We pay the owner directly €350 for the rent (this includes all costs for heating and water etc). Most houses are within 1 kilometre of the town, but some are 2 kilometres from the town centre, and we give each volunteer a bicycle to come and go to these.

Because these are family houses in which the owner lives it is usually not possible to have guests, or boyfriends or girlfriends stay over in your room. In those cases where someone is visiting you and wishes to stay it is best for you both to rent an Airbnb for the time needed.

Recently, Ireland – like many countries – has taken in thousands of Ukrainian refugees and accommodation has become very scare since people are offering their spare rooms to refugees. This is commendable, of course. It means that it is even more difficult to get accommodation, so we are grateful to the families who provide us with the rooms. We hope that you understand.

 

Who are the staff team?

Volunteers will be a core part of our organisation, working alongside other volunteers and staff. There will be 12 ESC volunteers, along with 2 students from Maynooth University on placement, and up to 4 Erasmus+ Student Traineeship placement students from European universities. They will all work as a team, receiving the same training and sharing the same programmes. Those 16 young volunteers will form a learning group and a community. They will have the sole use of our Centre during the day while our members are in schools and college. 

During this time, they will be supported by 5 staff members:

Peter Hussey​

Artistic Director and Programme Coordinator Contact Peter

Oğuzhan Şahin

Outreach Manager, Workshop Facilitator, Volunteer Supervisor Contact Oğuzhan

Cansu Genç

Administrator

Ann-Marie McIntyre

English language teacher, Volunteer Mentor.     Contact Ann-Marie           (put For Attention of Ann-Marie in the subject line).

Anna Galligan

Volunteer Trainer in Drama Facilitation. Contact Anna (put For Attention of Anna in the subject line).

Selection

This is a project for 10 young actors, 1 film-maker or videographer, and 1 graphic designer. 

The actors should have training or extensive experience in performing in theatre. The film-maker or videographer should have training or experience in making short promotional and creative films. The graphic designer should have training or experience in graphic design in page and text design.

1: Volunteers should be aged 21 to 30.

2: We ask for people who have training or extensive experience in performing in theatre / film making / graphic design

3: Volunteers should have initiative – i.e. they are able to start their own work

4: Volunteers should be prepared for cold, dark and wet winters

5: Volunteers should be able to work in flexible, changing, and organically structured environments.

6: Volunteers should be able to work alone and in groups.

7: Volunteers from outside the EU must obtain a visa to work here, and they must guarantee that they will adhere to the conditions of that visa.

8: Volunteers must be vetted by the Irish police force, An Garda Siochána, before they can volunteer with us.

We positively encourage young actors/videographers/graphic designers who have one or more of the following criteria to apply:   

  • You are LGBTQI+

  • You are from a migrant background, or your family has migrated

  • You may be experiencing difficulties in your home society related to your beliefs, cultural identity, gender, religious background (including being atheist), or ethnicity

  • Your human rights are being denied or repressed

  • You are an actor from a neighbouring country to the EU.

  • You feel that you have fewer opportunities in life compared to those your age in your country or in other countries.

How to apply

Most volunteers will have applied through our website – www.crookedhouse.ie – and filled out the application form there.  If you have not already done so, then these are the steps that you go through in order to be considered for this project:  

1. Register with the European Solidarity Corps here: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity/young-people/about_en   

2. After you have registered, search for opportunities from Crooked House Theatre Company (whose Organisation ID is E10012295). We have a Quality Label. Our latest volunteering opportunity will be this one called ESC10 Acting Together. Apply for this. 
 
3. Return to www.crookedhouse.ie and complete the application form linked at the bottom of the page. 
 
4. Wait to hear if you have been selected to move to Round 2. Round 2 will require you to send us more details about yourself and your work.
 
5. You will receive an email informing you about the next step in the process. If you are successful in this, then you will move to Round 3. 
 
7. Round 3 will be a live interview on a digital platform.
 
8. After this you will be informed if you have secured a place on this project.
 

About Us

Crooked House is supported by Kildare County Council.