Young People

We believe every child and young person should have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts. Prism Arts aims to improve the delivery and diversity of arts opportunities, raising the standard of art being produced for, with and by children and young people.

Since 2012 Prism Arts has been delivering advocacy programmes of arts participation for young people in special schools, colleges and day care centres across Cumbria. The advocacy programme has involved a series of workshops, exhibitions, performances and taster sessions enabling us to build new partnerships and knowledge about the creative interests and needs of young people with learning disabilities. We will use this knowledge to ensure that our future arts courses meet the needs of young people.

Studio Theatre

We always showcase work produced during the workshops to peers, families and carers in order to build awareness of the skills of young people and promote the benefits of engaging in the arts.

If you would like Prism Arts to come and work with your school, college or youth group please contact us.


Case Study – Distington Community School.

“This year as a school we have seen a dramatic rise in our SAT’s results.  One of the key projects we have been working on is our collaboration with Prism Arts and the social and emotional development of our children. The projects specifically targeted children who had low self-esteem and very low confidence.
As a result of this work the children have excelled in their recent SAT’s and our disadvantaged pupils have achieved above the national average in all areas. The progress I believe is a result of these children being given a voice and they are now more confident to tackle challenging situations and they have become more resilient” – Angela Jones Headteacher, Distington Community School

Studio Theatre West Coast (STW)

Studio Theatre West Coast - Saga of Ernest Performance at Beggars Theatre Cumbria

STW is a theatre group of young people with learning disabilities and autism working alongside experienced artists and theatre practitioners. Since 2014 Prism Arts Studio Theatre West has been resident in Distington Community School.  The residency is a two way exchange, in return for space and support Prism Arts supports Distington Community School’s staff and students artistic development. It has resulted in an annual performance in the school for parents and children, access to workshops led by emerging diverse artists and artists.

“Thank you for the wonderful performance and workshop.  It gave people with disabilities the chance to do something they love” – Catlin

Recently one of the Prism Arts emerging diverse artists, John Lake, was asked to create a couple of drawings for the school as they celebrated Harry Potter. He thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share his work with the school.

John Lake also helps run workshops with the students which he really enjoys as it gives him an opportunity to meet people which is something he particulairly enjoys.

A Curious Minds Diversity Grant in 2015 allowed Prism Arts to run a one-day seminar at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal 2016 which explored how learning and development can be enhanced through diversity and creativity.
The seminar included performance, film, discussion and practical workshops led by; Students from Distington Community School, Mayfield SEN Physical & Sensory Specialist School and Holme St Cuthbert School, artists and teachers, young learning disabled people from Prism Arts Studio Theatre, and young people from Brewery Youth Arts.

Click here to see the full Seminar Programme

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“This seminar was very worthwhile, it was engaging, informative and inspiring.” – Delegate

“A great, thought-provoking day – and I even picked up an idea for getting my ‘non-drawers’ drawing!! – Thank you very much!” – Delegate

West Cumbria Schools Consortium

Prism Arts - CFC - Seascale Jan 2017 11

This project gave Prism Arts the opportunity to work with groups at 4 west coast schools including Distington Community School to explore the effect the creative arts have on pupils with additional learning needs, emotional and behavioural issues. 10 students were picked from each of the 4 schools to receive 10 creative sessions led by artists.

The Seascale School group created a theatre performance, Holme St Cuthberts School created a book of paintings and short stories, Westfield Primary School created their own Viking Saga and Distington Community School designed a sign for the school and wrote a story which was read to the reception class who created a response work about it.

Outcomes from the project:

  • 1 boy has come off ‘Early help’ (Early Help –– defined support – hopefully preventing formal Social Services engagement)
  • One boy who had been exposed to very violent films (+18) at 6 yrs. old. Because of the project, he is much more outgoing and changed over the period of the project quite remarkably.  ‘Even popping into the head teacher’s office for a chat’.
  • Disclosures increased: As children found it easier to talk to teachers through the project. This supported Kids Safe work.  One young boy has been able to develop a sense of security.  This is helping him to be more confident at home saying that he does not want to watch 18 films at home and going to his bedroom to draw instead.
  • The project allowed children time to work by themselves, outside of the formal curriculum.


“29% of Children are on Free School Meals.  This means that nearly a third of our children are coming from low income homes.  The majority of these children are vulnerable, lack parental support and have significant emotional needs 83% of our current nursery intake are not meeting age related expectations.  We are therefore playing catch up from the outset.  Social and Emotional issues need to be addressed before we can start the learning process.  We find that creative engagement is essential in enabling us to support children and parents so that they can learn.   We work with Barbados, Health Specialists and Social Services.  We now deliver an integrated arts and cultural engagement plan that supports and nurtures children.” –  Angela Jones Headteacher, Distington Community School

“The school has established strong links with external agencies to make sure that the children get the support that they need” – OFSTED

“The school has further enriched the curriculum by working with artists. Highlighting how the school is working in partnership with arts organisations to develop children” – OFSTED

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