I first got involved with CAN in 2012 when I worked alongside Magdalen Bartlett, who was CAN’s Children and Young People’s Creative Producer, to establish CAN Young Artists. I led CAN Young Artists for seven years. The relationship with CAN and their young people’s programme is one of the most significant of my career. CAN appointed me as a Lead Artist, giving me the confidence to see myself as the artist I wanted to be. CAN believed in my ideas and trusted my artistic vision.
CAN Young Artists and I built something very special, making some incredible, high-quality pieces of work together. Young people describe the company as a family with the trust and understanding of each other. It’s a fantastic first introduction to the arts for many of the young people. CAN Young Artists offers quality training for young artists to develop their skills in performance. Many have gone on to join other companies or to study performance.
One of my proudest moments was seeing one of the members of the company perform at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2019 in his first professional show – a work-in-progress with the award-winning theatre company YESYESNONO.
CAN stands out as a pioneering organisation in the UK because it actually listens to the people taking part, its artists, and audiences. Genuine consultation happens. CAN acts on those conversations, it’s not a box-ticking exercise. The work is for real.