Empowering Young People to Change Their World
Our mission is to support gifted young people who face exceptional challenges and hardship to expand their life opportunities and aspirations through arts and media.
Located at the Old Town Hall Hampstead, Wac Arts has been home to thousands of talented young people, harnessing their extraordinary potential every year, equipping them to make positive choices for themselves and a positive contribution to society. Our work has opened countless doors for young people, creating life-changing opportunities otherwise inaccessible to them. Our dream is to be a sustainable arts-inspired educational safe haven for generations of many young people, enabling them to park the stresses of being a young person; to forget, in some cases, the daily fight for survival; and instead, through the power of the arts, to find themselves, understand themselves and be themselves.
“Attending Wac Arts every Sunday as a teenager transformed my life. I cannot overstate the continuing importance of having such institutions accessible to young people in London”
Sam Beste- Wac Arts alumnus and professional musician
In 1978 Camden struggled to provide local young people with adequate training in the performing arts and media. With this in mind our current CEO of 35 years set up Wac Arts, with 12 students. Now we have over 1,500 students benefiting from our media and arts training every year!
· Worked with over 30,000 students in past 35 years
· Only Alternative Provision Free School that teaches a creative curriculum in the UK
· 78% of attendees are black or of ethnic minority.
· Open 7 days a week, 50 weeks a year!
A number of our students have marked their presence in the performing arts and media industry. Amongst our Alumni Wac Arts counts 1996 Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Robo Cop, Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace, Broadchurch), 2004 Oscar nominee (Hotel Rwanda) and 2014 Tony Award Winner (A Raisin in the Sun) Sophie Okenedo, Stage and screen actor Danny Sapani (Trance, Penny Dreadful, Medea), Director, Playwright and Offie Nominee Che Walker, world famous jazz musicians Courtney Pine and Julian Joseph and four Mercury and Mobo Award winners including Ms Dynamite and Zoe Rahman.
“Wac Arts gave me an invaluable experience not only the chance to develop as an actor but gave me an appreciation of all arts ballet, jazz, music. We were encouraged to try everything and to create. I don’t think you get that type of training anywhere else”
Marianne Jean-Baptiste- Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Nominee
Although many do go on to work in the Arts, what young people learn here are life skills.
For over 35 years we have watched thousands of children escape the poverty trap and go on to have successful careers as youth workers, teachers, lawyers, administrators, and entrepreneurs.
However long the journey takes, Wac Arts provides education, training, holistic support and guidance, aiming to open up opportunities and improve the lives of young people in Camden and across Greater London.
“Children leave Wac Arts with a sense of improved self-worth and confidence, which they have learnt through the discipline of high attendance rates, watching themselves improve, receiving positive reinforcement, working in a team and valuing the importance of not letting others down. The skills that they learn are life skills and although many do go on to work in the Arts, over 35 years we have watched thousands of children escape the poverty trap and go on to have successful careers as youth workers, teachers, lawyers, administrators, entrepreneurs and, perhaps most importantly, effective parents”
Celia Greenwood, CEO