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Theatre | London

Arcola TheatreArcola Participation

Arcola Theatre is an award winning East London based theatre company, pioneers in targeted community theatre since its inception in 2000.

Arcola Participation creates thousands of creative opportunities every year for the people of Hackney and beyond – including through youth theatres, schools programme, courses, and through pioneering community theatre companies.

Arcola Theatre

Arcola Theatre

Target Beneficiaries

Arcola community theatre companies aim to benefit LGBTQ+, Women, 50+, Turkish and Kurdish communities and those suffering from mental health issues.

Arcola are committed to challenging assumptions about what youth and community theatre can (and should) be, while providing opportunities to learn, train and perform under the guidance of world-class artists. They aim to deliver high-quality productions that resonate both locally and globally, whilst maintaining a welcoming and inclusive ethos.

Arcola uses theatre as a medium to teach transferable skills, improve social cohesion and raise aspirations, and seek to make a positive impact through their work.


Arcola run five community theatre companies and each group works with professionals to present new work or re-imagined productions that shatter expectations and challenge preconceptions.

  • Queer Collective – East London’s performance collective for LGBTQI* people, exploring queer identity and how to present it.
  • 50+ Group– A space for East London residents over the age of 50 to explore theatre and performance.
  • Mental Health Theatre Group – Using theatre as a vehicle to tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health.
  • Ala-Turka– Giving a theatrical voice to the Turkish and Kurdish communities of East London.
  • Women’s Company– Exploring female identities and experiences through theatrical forms and collective voices.

Arcola is rare among professional theatres for its management of long-running community theatre companies, and for its annual productions of new shows by every company. The Creative Disruption Festival sees a community ‘takeover’ of one of Arcola’s main performance spaces for five weeks each year.



Arcola Participation creates over 13,500 creative opportunities every year for the people of Hackney and beyond – through youth theatres, courses, and pioneering community theatre companies. 

In 2017 Arcola won the Adiaha Antigha Award for Most Imaginative Approach to Outreach.

2019-2020 Participants:






The programmes culminated in a Creative Disruption season in February and March 2020 which saw more than 10 productions and events presented in Studio 2.


Arts Council England, and individual donors.