Current projects

“Millwall’s changing communities: memories of football and neighbourhood in south London”

This project, a collaboration with Dr. Ole Jensen, Bede House, Big Local, and actREAL, will collect oral histories of black Millwall fans and engage residents in the northern part of Southwark, south London, in an exploration of the relationship between football, youth culture and neighbourhood community. ActREAL will run two workshops sessions; one with young people at The Bede Youth Adventure project, and one inter-generational workshop with Big Local. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


“Better off with us”

ActREAL is assisting  in collecting stories of migrant domestic workers who are members of Waling Waling, a migrant domestic workers organisation. This is in advance of the organisation’s 30th anniversary.


German expellees

This project uses life histories of German refugees after the Second World War in Germany, exploring themes of belonging, home, identity, exile and memory, based on research conducted by Vanessa Hughes.

Projects in development

We have a number of projects in early development stages and more information on these will come soon. We welcome proposals for new projects and collaborations. Please contact us if you have project you would like to discuss.

Previous projects

Becoming Adult

actREAL is combining comedy and outreach in this project, working with young people involved in the Becoming Adult project. This project, run by researchers from UCL, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Oxford, looked at the lived experiences of young men and women who migrated alone to the UK as children ad they make their transition to adulthood, and the many obstacles and issues of legality and well-being that brings. Together we developed a series of filmed comedy sketches sharing the young people’s takes on their experiences. We worked with Gemma Arrowsmith and Jahan Khan, running workshops for the young people as they explored ways of sharing their stories.


Keble College Regional Outreach

As part of the outreach programme by Keble College, University of Oxford we delivered a theatre-based workshop to visiting schools exploring university life and expectations. This was a pilot for future collaboration.


“Is Perceiving Believing”

actREAL developed and managed an interactive trail of activities exploring migration in the British print media and how we perceive and process such information at the Oxford arm of the pan-European event “Curiosity Carnival”, showcasing ESRC funded research. The activities were created in collaboration with Willam Allen (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford), based on his research on how British print media have discussed migration and immigration over the last 35 years.


“Love to Learn – Storytelling and Identity”

This project, in collaboration with community organisation Love to Learn and funded by the Youth Opportunity Fund, involves running a drama club to explore the participating young people’s background, identities and relationships. With a bespoke script written specifically for and about young people they use theatre skills to creatively explore and express their individuality.


“Better off with us”

ActREAL assisted  in collecting stories of migrant domestic workers who are members of Waling Waling, a migrant domestic workers organisation, and Kalayaan. This was for the organisation’s 30th anniversary.


Community theatre workshop

We delivered an all-day workshop to a secondary school in Dagenham that focused on the opportunities, practicalities and variety of community theatre. The workshop was given as part of the school’s Year 12 Drama Curriculum.


Capital City Academy workshop

actREAL ran a full day forum theatre-based workshop with children who were recent arrivals to the school, exploring their experiences and feelings of welcome, belonging and place. This workshops was run as a part of Vanessa Hughes’ PhD work on immigration status and belonging among young migrants in London.


“Messaging Migration: Exploring and creating new narratives about international migration”

This project is a collaboration between actREAL, COMPAS (University of Oxford) and the Migration Observatory (University of Oxford) and is funded by the Toyota Foundation. Messaging migration looks at the communication around migration to establish how as a society we can better talk about it, to aid the building of a more just, peaceful and understanding relationship among all members of society. ActREAL will run workshops using theatre and participatory methods among communities in areas of the UK known to have high levels of concern around migration and its impacts, to understand how people make sense of the issue in their own words and through their local experiences.


“The ethics and politics of the refugee crisis”

This project explores the refugee crisis, examining the journeys, motivations and actors involved. Partnering with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, Open University, the Migration Museum, and IOM, actREAL is working with two central London schools. With material based on research conducted by COMPAS, actREAL is taking the students through the debates, relationships and personal stories involved in the current migration crisis.


 “Undocumented migrant children’s lives and stories”

This project uses monologues based on research from a project by the same name to explore the everyday life experiences of undocumented migrant children and their families in the UK, with a particular focus on their access to education and health care.  ActREAL worked with secondary and primary schools in London, Birmingham and Thame.


Lord William’s Munga Day

ActREAL participated on an expert panel for this day, where the school’s Year 11 students explored and debated issues around local communities accepting unaccompanied migrant children, with a focus on Thame and the everyday realities and implications of doing so. ActREAL participated both in an expert and role playing capacity.


Let Us Learn

ActREAL ran workshops with the Let Us Learn campaign to explore new and different ways of telling their stories, using theatre-based skills and techniques.



MSc in Migration Studies Seminar

ActREAL ran a seminar for MSc students at the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford, on “Raising the curtain: Using theatre to create engagement and awareness”.

Working with us

Your school or community group can engage us directly. We will provide quotes for our work according to your needs. The quote will be based on the number of workshops and participants, and the number of actREAL staff required.  We will always work around the most convenient schedule for you.


1) Explore package

actREAL will carry out an agreed number of workshop (1-10) to introduce the chosen topic and create learning and discussion using theatrical methods and exercises.


2) Performance package

Have a series of workshops similar to the explore package and rehearsals culminating in a school assembly and/or public performance.


For both packages, the following topics are currently available:

  • Migrant domestic workers
  • German expellees
  • Undocumented migrant children
  • The refugee crisis
  • Media representation of migration and migrants


More topics will be available soon. We are also able to devise packages around other topics if you have a specific requirement.


Make an enquiry

“Thought-provoking and fun workshops delivered in an inspirational format.…hard-hitting facts and laugh-out-loud drama activities. Good to see less confident pupils engaged.”


Year 6 Teacher


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