We were all born to shine

Jeanette Rourke

Nobody knows the importance of inclusion for marginalised people in the arts more than actress and creative Jeanette Rourke. Her life took her from living on the streets to making an acceptance speech at the BAFTA Awards for the short film she starred in:

“I never had any less value as a human being from being homeless to going up on that stage. I was still the same person with the same worth. We were all born to shine.”

Her personal experiences and long working history with St. Mungo’s Broadway inspired her to approach them in January to set up a weekly Wellbeing Day, to give people with experiences of homelessness the opportunity to get involved in the performing arts.  She spent six months promoting the idea to organisations like the young Vic, the old Vic, and Streetwise opera to them on board.

Her persistence and dedication paid off, and now each week the Wellbeing Centre in Clapham hosts Wellbeing day which includes creative workshops, ranging from creative writing, poetry and music, to drama, costume and set design, by organisations like Streetwise Opera:

“Everyone is welcome here, you don’t have to be referred, it’s a drop-in creative space. We share challenges and achievements by increasing confidence and motivation.“ says Jeanette.

As part of Wellbeing Day, Jeanette will be putting on a show called ‘The Universe is Shutting Down’, completely produced by and starring people attending the centre.

The show will run this Christmas at the Clapham Omnibus Theatre, and performances will be free and open to all.

One of our own Big Issue trainees – John Watts - will be starring in a leading role! So head on down to the theatre this Christmas and support social inclusion in the arts.

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