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Storyhouse teams up with The Agency to support young people in Lache

Storyhouse is teaming up with a pioneering UK-wide creative entrepreneurship organisation to help young Chester people harness the arts to make real change in their communities.

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The Agency empowers young people aged 15 to 25 and who live in some of the most overlooked or disconnected areas in the country to generate their own social change projects based on the specific needs of the place where they live.

Over the last 10 years the initiative, which was originally developed in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro by Brazilian theatre-maker Marcus Faustini, has worked on successful projects with young people in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast and Southampton.

Now it is coming to Chester where Storyhouse staff will be trained in The Agency’s methodology and will use it to work with young people in The Lache area of the city.

The estate is two miles southwest of the city centre and has around 10,000 residents.

The new initiative builds on Storyhouse’s own work giving young people agency and decision-making opportunities through its existing Young Catalysts, Young Programmers and Young Leaders programmes.

Where The Agency differs is that young people – known as Agents – are given money directly to progress their ideas.

A 12-week project cycle will use theatre-based creative methodology to help young participants develop their ideas, starting from their desire for change in their local area and identifying an idea based on a need they pinpoint in their community.

Each programme focuses on innovative idea generation, social impact, research and consultation, networking and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Participants receive a stipend to spend on their projects and help them with costs like travel and food.

At the end of the cycle, the young people will pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts who will decide on three projects which will then receive £2,000 of seed funding and an additional 16 weeks of support.

Previous successful projects in the UK include a multi-sports programme, environmental initiative, young people’s mental health project, a platform to promote untapped music talent, exhibitions showcasing the power of young black women, work with those at risk of offending and tackling racism through shared cultural games.

Working with The Agency also helps young people improve their skills in areas like networking, project management, creative problem solving and presentation.


A project manager employed by Storyhouse will oversee the Chester scheme and will work closely with The Agency and other project managers across the country. Meanwhile a street team will spend the summer talking to young people in The Lache – particularly those who may not normally engage with arts projects.

Storyhouse Creative Director Suzie Henderson, who is also a member of The Agency, said:

“I’m really excited to see what projects the young people from The Lache create and what impact they have. 

“The Agency gives money directly to young people to develop their ideas to bring about change in their communities. We believe that the best placed people to develop solutions for challenges being experienced in any community are the people who live there.

“Too often young people are seen as contributing to these challenges instead of being seen as those who have ideas and solutions. The Agency flips this narrative on its head.”

Find out more and sign-up here