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Our students during their peformanceFour students from the FdA Theatre and Performance degree at University Centre St Helens had plans to work with local community café, Momos, as part of their Community Project module. Aiming to encourage students to develop a performance that not only engages the local community but interacts with them, the module forms part of University Centre St Helens' two-year, Foundation Degree, validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

As part of the module, students are required to source a local community project and originally chose local Cotham Street café, Momos, because of its strong community links and the vast array of work already being carried out by the café in supporting a range of groups, including young people, people with disabilities and those suffering with poor mental health.

With plans to link their work to pre-planned activities already planned by Momo’s and their own future career plans, the group worked on a series of workshops for primary school-aged children, with the activity beginning on Tuesday 20th November for three weeks. After a successful first week, the unexpected closure of the café left the students with a series of planned activities, that allowed participants to undertake arts and crafts, learn poems, lines and songs and create and name characters but no venue.

Children already participating were preparing to feature in a final show on Saturday 8th December; a date that originally tied in with the day Momo’s would have been decorating their Christmas tree, with the community’s help.

With a loose idea of how the performance would look, the group planned to work with the children to help shape the final performance, themed around the finding of presents and securely returning them back to the Christmas tree, in time for Christmas day.

To allow the students to continue with their work, St Helens College provided a venue for the final two workshops, allowing the children to attend and put on the final show, which took place on Tuesday 18th December.

With future plans between all four students of working in scriptwriting, theatre performance education and teaching the next generation of budding actors and actresses, working with a local café and local children is an ideal fit for all.

Speaking on behalf of the group, student Bradley said:

“We couldn’t have found a more perfect partner for our workshops and performance. This module focuses on supporting and working with the local community, something that Momo’s café has at its heart. Despite the sad and unexpected closure of the café, we continued to work with the café owners and they have continued to support us, even attending the workshops that we were able to put on at the College. As a local student, it is great to work with likeminded people, giving something back to the community at one of the most exciting times of the year!”