Act Now!

Young perform Click

Click by Dafydd James, performed at Sherman Theatre, September 2012

“In the four years I’ve been coming to Mess Up The Mess I’ve been building up a wall of confidence, it’s risen to the point where I can do anything I want.”

Act Now! was our major Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) outreach programme that ran between February 2011 and 2014. During that time we worked with 564 young people from over 50 different partner organisations to explore ESDGC themes and create small and large scale multimedia events.

Young people painting cupcake props

Creating cupcakes for Keep Calm, August 2012

Groups we worked with included:

  • Ethnic Youth Support, Team Swansea
  • Spark Project, Blaen Y Maes
  • Priory Project, Monkton
  • Rising Stars Theatre Company
  • Barnardo’s Young Carers, Carmarthen & Newport
  • Valley Teens, Brynaman
  • Swansea Young Single Homeless Project
  • Theatre Versus Oppression
  • Ystradgynlais Clwb Ieuncid Cymraeg
  • National Theatre Wales

“The project taught us to unite as a group and helped us understand the importance of teamwork. The young people learned about the importance of their own space… I think these skills they have learned in our group are taken outside in their everyday situations and therefore they are more balanced and more confident. The performances we now produce are sending out a message to the wider community that disability within the arts is incredibly important as it allows young people with disabilities to express themselves in a way that they cannot do in other situations.” – Michelle McTernan, Rising Stars

Young people explored ESDGC themes including equality, diversity, identity, relationships, sustainable development and globalisation through workshops developed and delivered with Mess Up The Mess Peer Leaders. Following the workshops, young people were recruited from partner groups, to train as facilitators and peer leaders and cascade ESDGC training further through multimedia events.

2 Peer Leaders work with 2 young people

Peer Leaders work with young people

“I’ve learned that everybody leaves a different mark and identity should be celebrated.”

Some of the small and large scale multimedia events created by young people as part of the Act Now programme included:

  • Click – an international collaboration exploring how identity and relationships are forged through the internet, challenging our assumptions in surprising ways. We initially toured Click across South Wales in 2011. It was so enthusiastically received, we toured it again the following year.
  • Keep Calm – a site-specific, immersive performance set in Cwmoernant Farm in Carmarthenshire, exploring themes of utopia, society, inclusion and exclusion through a dark and unnerving story.
  • Messolution – a two day residential, led by Mess Up The Mess Peer Leaders. They devised and delivered participatory workshops with young people leading to a site specific performance.
2 Peer Leaders and 2 young people

Peer Leaders and young people, Messolution, Summer 2013

“Starting from the residential, I’ve learned that identity is more than what you have. Plus everyone is diverse in different ways; it’s not just about race or gender.”

“It’s given me the confidence to go out and do things, even if that’s just reading in class.”

The young people who took part in the Act Now programme have told us they have benefitted in many ways:

  • 98 % felt they had developed new skills
  • 90% identified they felt comfortable meeting new people
  • 86% identified they are friends with people who are different to them

The programme provided a safe space for young people to be creative and explore their own ideas. Evaluation has indicated that young people have gained increased knowledge about identity and diversity.

“Mess Up The Mess has changed my life in so many ways over the past 4 years through countless workshops, productions and projects. I have discovered who I truly am! At the age of 13 I was a lost and lonely boy who had NO idea what he would arise to. Then through a stroke of luck I found my purpose in Mess Up the Mess. I found the confidence to accept my sexuality and I am so happy I found them, the opportunities they have given me I will never be able to repay or forget!”

Funded by Big Lottery Fund