Theatre has the power to change lives.

We know this from our own personal experiences and observations, but also from research that shows how participation in drama can improve mental health and wellbeing. 

Underground Lights is a new independent community theatre organisation that is run for (and ultimately aims to be run by) adults experiencing social disadvantage, homelessness and/or mental health issues. 

There is a close, two-way relationship between homelessness and mental health. If you experience mental health issues, this can create circumstances which lead to homelessness; similarly, poor housing or homelessness can create or worsen mental health issues. This can hinder recovery and lead to problems finding housing. 

Once an individual has found stable accommodation, recovering from the many issues associated with homelessness is a long journey. On average, people need approximately two to three years of further support. Underground Lights aims to support people on that journey by: 

  • offering drama and performing arts workshops in a relaxed and friendly environment

  • providing opportunities for performance

  • offering practical skills sessions using drama to enhance confidence and develop skills for future training or employment

  • running training on leadership and facilitation, enabling members to support and lead groups, support other members and actively take part in the running of the organisation.

Meet the Underground Lights Team

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Dr. Emma Ormerod

Emma is a drama practitioner and mental health researcher with over ten years’ experience of working with socially excluded adults in criminal justice and education settings. As a drama tutor for Crisis Skylight Coventry and Warwickshire, Emma has worked with people experiencing homelessness, teaching Open College Network Levels 1 and 2 Performing Arts.

Photo by Bungle

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Lewis Ford

Lewis Ford will be assisting with project management and facilitation of the drama workshops. Lewis has experience of homelessness and has been a member of Crisis Skylight in Coventry since 2016. Having attended drama classes at Crisis he has subsequently worked as a volunteer teaching assistant in the drama class, supporting members with learning disabilities.