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Corn Exchange Newbury Awarded Grant From The Olibob Arts Foundation To Support Youth In Theatre

Corn Exchange Newbury have received a grant from The Olibob Arts Foundation, a UK registered charity focused on ‘helping young people to develop key life skills through the performing arts.’ This vital grant will be used by Corn Exchange to provide Youth Theatre Bursaries (Olibob Bursaries) for local young people, as well as being used to fund tickets for the ‘Panto Pay It Forward’ scheme, and to fund an allocation of tickets for local schools for the ‘Come and See a Show’ experience. This funding from The Olibob Arts Foundation will allow Corn Exchange Newbury to increase their work within the community, ensuring a broad range of people from West Berkshire can engage in the area’s vibrant artistic scene and develop their creativity.

Helen Bonner
, Learning and Participation Manager says, 'We are delighted to have received this funding which will help us provide greater creative opportunities for young people in the area. We know how much young people gain from being part of our youth theatre, not only in terms of drama techniques, but also in confidence, communication skills and the friendships they develop, and we will now be able to offer more places to those who might not otherwise have been able to take part. This grant will also ensure a greater number of local young people can attend Beauty and the Beast, this year’s pantomime, and experience the festive magic and entertainment of live theatre'.

The Olibob Arts Foundation
was set up in 2021 in memory of Oli Williams who died in a tragic accident on the A34 at East Ilsley, near Newbury, during Storm Alex in 2020. Oli was brought up in Tadley, and participated in local youth drama groups such as Tadley Youth Drama and Silchester Players, and when he moved to Stratford-upon-Avon, after graduating from Cambridge University, he continued to work with local amateur dramatic groups. While in Stratford, he became one of the youngest patrons of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

The Olibob Arts Foundation
intends to give other young people who would not otherwise have the same opportunities, the chance to benefit from skills learnt through the performing arts. The Foundation awards grants to schools, drama groups and clubs to fund performing arts projects, with a particular focus on 11–21-year-olds. The aim is to help young people to develop key life skills, such as social cohesion, role playing, team working, interpersonal skills, and communication skills, through the performing arts. This in turn will help them gain confidence, resilience, and to participate in society as independent, mature, and responsible individuals.

The opportunities made possible by this funding complement Corn Exchange Newbury and 101 Outdoor Arts’ generous artist development schemes such as Take It Outside, its partnership with Jerwood Arts to support outdoor artists, as well as their Careers in the Arts project in partnership with the Watermill Theatre and its wide range of creative workshops and courses for all ages.

For further information about The Olibob Arts Foundation, please visit

For more information of how you can support the Corn Exchange Newbury please click here.