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Gunners inspired by theatre project

Puppet theatre

Over the past year, The Arsenal Foundation’s ‘Gunners Fund’ has provided a number of small grants to help make a meaningful difference to a range of local projects and good causes.

One recent recipient of a £2,500 grant was the “home of British puppetry”, Little Angel Theatre in Islington. One of the theatre’s core aims is to work with schools, families and community groups on imaginative education and participation activities which raise aspirations and improve confidence, teamwork and tolerance.

Thanks to the Foundation’s grant, the theatre was able to facilitate a special puppetry and film performance in collaboration with Islington Museum and Arsenal in the Community, to celebrate the Club’s 100 years in Islington.

Put together by a group of eight 11 to 16 year olds comprising Junior Gunners and other youngsters from four different estates across the borough, the creative bunch were led by Little Angel’s puppet maker and director, Laura Halliwell, to help write and direct the script, while also making the puppets that were used in the performance.

Over the space of five short days during October half team, the group came together and drew inspiration for the piece by taking in tours of Emirates Stadium, the Arsenal Museum and Islington Museum, where they were able to learn more about the Club and its rich history.

After some intense rehearsals, the group performed their piece of Arsenal-inspired theatre, entitled “George - the 100-year-old fan”, to a packed VIP audience. The performance was also filmed so that others can enjoy it as part of the “It’s Arsenal Around Here” exhibition which runs at Islington Museum until January 2014, telling the story of the Club’s presence in the local borough.

Speaking after the performance, Lynette Shanbury of Little Angel Theatre, said: “It was great to see the young people working together so well after only a week. They did their performance brilliantly and it has been a great week getting to know the history of Arsenal. We are very pleased that Arsenal and Little Angel Theatre were able to work together on this truly local project.”

As well as celebrating the Club’s history, this project has been a great example of youngsters engaging with their local community, while developing important creative and teamwork skills.

To find out more about the work of The Gunners Fund and The Arsenal Foundation, visit www.arsenal.com/thearsenalfoundation.

Little Angel Theatre is also encouraging lads and dads to show their creative side with a special Arsenal-themed puppet making workshop at Islington Museum on Saturday, December 7. To find out more, visit www.littleangeltheatre.com.

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