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About

Bounce makes original, brave, and imaginative work. We believe that great art begins with telling stories, and that being creative can be a radical act of self-care.

For us, storytelling is a whole-body learning experience that recognises everyone lives in their bodies differently and therefore will use different mediums to communicate their stories. Our approach to making art brings together different lived experiences, finding ways to share stories in cafes, community centres, school halls, and other spaces to celebrate the things that bind us as a community.

The Art of Collaboration

A Snapshot of Bounce Theatre

Since 2006, Bounce has been bringing people together to make good things happen. We’ve grown from an idea around a kitchen table into a company regularly producing intricate projects with up to 450 participants.

 

In our early years we developed workshops for schools and were commissioned to direct a primary and secondary drama festival for Richmond upon Thames. We ran after school drama clubs and family learning projects in Hounslow as part of the Extended Schools offer. 

Since our inception we have cared about how we reflect the unique interactions of participants in the process of collaboration. We were privileged to spend a summer in a hospice making a performance for families which celebrated each child’s unique communication style. We returned to the hospice during the Paralympics after being commissioned to develop a new performance. Inside my Imagination was professionally performed in Hampton and Hounslow.

The Arts Council commissioned us to deliver an arts and health project on an estate in Hounslow. We ran a youth theatre, a mums project, and a tea and chat group for older people. The young people packed out a tiny room in the middle of the estate on a weekly basis. When the funding came to an end the local estate management team believed it made such a difference to the community they continued to fund it. 

 

Politics changed and, consequently, funding changed. As the Extended Schools Initiative disappeared we fused our drama clubs and estate project into a youth theatre. For three years we sustained mixed pots of funding for 60 children and young people to participate in youth theatre projects until the theatre was taken over. In this time, they put on countless productions and curated a festival. The project culminated in an installation, a basement performance, and workshops at the Saatchi Gallery.

Kingston Council commissioned us to develop a project looking at the concept of kindness and loneliness in children and young people. The result, ‘The Lonely City’, was exhibited again at the Saatchi Gallery. 

Our interest in the link between arts and health grew as we worked with Anstee Bridge, a Kingston-based alternative education programme for young people with social, emotional, and mental health needs that impacted upon their learning. We produced a heritage project celebrating 60 years of fashion leading to an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, an NHS 70 exhibition at The National Archives, and mounted three professionally performed productions written out of the students' lived experiences. This led to a commission from The Grace Dear Trust, a youth mental health charity, to run a youth theatre. However, we then went into the pandemic and reimagined it as a digital offer - exploring acting, creative writing, podcasting and yoga to give  young people a space in the chaos.

During Covid, we reimagined all our projects as DIY zines for children and older people. We effectively started a distribution network, and at its peak 11,000 magazines went out a week. As Christmas was in essence cancelled that year, we wrote and staged a professionally performed tiny touring Santa show, travelling to over 300 doorsteps to brighten up December for children and families around Wandsworth. No presents were exchanged and instead parents donated to the local Food Bank, raising £5,000 in total. Post-Covid, we have established our base in Wandsworth - working with a local café to establish an intergenerational arts project, a youth theatre, and free school meals holiday projects.

 

We have produced large-scale intergenerational projects, become a partner in the national charity - Speech Bubbles, and launched StoryClub which explores the links between play and communication. We annually engage over 450 people in workshops, events and performances.

 

Bounce was and is a story about the good things that happen when you bring people together to be creative.

Participant Stories

Read first hand accounts from some of our participants in the community and the impact that participation has had on their happiness, confidence, and wellbeing.

A portrait of an 8 year old boy in a red t-shirt. He has blue eyes and sandy blond short hair

I wanted to join the youth theatre because my friend was there. I was excited to join. I like doing acts and then we can talk. We can talk at dinner, which is always tasty stuff. I like making stuff up and using my imagination. It makes me feel happy.

Daniel, aged 8

I think it's a really good opportunity. It has helped me with my confidence and acting skills. It's just a place where I feel safe and heard. I think it's really good and it has helped me make a lot of new friends - people who like the same things as me. I think Bounce people help people my age and younger or older to find something that they are passionate about.

Edda, aged 14, Youth Theatre Participant

A 14 year old girl smiles at the camera and gives the peace sign
An older lady with short grey hair smiles at the camera.

Coming on Tuesday has helped me with depression and loneliness and has helped me to focus. Socialising and chatting with people has improved my concentration. Louise has been amazing. 
I think the NHS should fund this instead of my diabetes class. I know I am coming here on Tuesday, so on Monday I get my hair done. I come here on Tuesday. I eat a warm meal with ingredients I wouldn’t cook for myself, do some art and see my friends.I go home and feel happy until Wednesday. This  group is more than medication, it is healing. 

Turn Up Join In Project Participant

This group is like a Gregg's donut - solid and dependable. Here you can be yourself. I’ve made so many really good friends because of Bounce Theatre. 

Ruby, aged 14, Youth Theatre Participant

A smiling teenage girl with glasses and dressed in pink.
A smiling teenage girl with a flower crown.

Bounce is really important to me. Before I joined a few years ago I was slipping into this state of mind where I was starting to get antisocial. Then I met these guys. I love it because of the friends I’ve made here. Friends have turned into family.

Jess, aged 14, Youth Theatre Participant

“It has made me come out and tell people my problems. That has helped my mental health. The two leaders of the group, I would give them 10 out of 10. I would do the group every
year.”

Turn Up Join In Project Participant

The Bounce Team

Bounce couldn't do what it does without a great team behind it

Louise Pendry

Artistic Director & Founder of Bounce Theatre

Louise founded Bounce in 2006, and has continued to evolve the company to better meet the needs of its participants. She places equity and wellbeing at the heart of what Bounce does.

She is responsible for the business but also remains committed to delivering workshops, writing, and directing projects. Her work includes tiny shows that travel door-to-door through to large-scale participatory performances. 

Louise is a Mental Health First Aider, Emergency First Aider, Designated Safeguarding Lead, and Speech Bubbles Practitioner. She holds a Certificate in Behaviour that Challenges and a Certificate in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health. Louise is also a trustee for Earlsfield Foodbank.

    A smiling woman with shoulder length hair. Black and white portrait.

    Harriet Ditmore

    Lead Artist

    Harriet joined Bounce in 2019. She is a multidisciplinary practitioner with a passion for sensory storytelling with people from 3-70+. She fuses drama, dance, and digital technology into her work to increase opportunities for access. Underpinning her practice is an interest in sensory practices and links to emotional health.

     

    Harriet oversees our after-school clubs, StoryClub, and is leading our research and reminiscence workshops in our community projects. Harriet is a Speech Bubbles Practitioner. She also holds a Certificate in Behaviour that Challenges and a Certificate in Understanding Young People’s Mental Health.

      A smiling woman with shoulder-length hair. Black and white portrait.

      Lauren Purser

      Company Manager

      Lauren is responsible for the behind the scenes activities of Bounce. She works on areas like policy, funding and development, and our digital presence. Lauren is driven by a commitment to equitable access and care. She brings her own interests in health, technology, and the natural world into project and policy development. Alongside this, she enjoys walking the family dog, Holly, who has become the unofficial Bounce mascot! Lauren is also a School Governor for her local primary school.

        Natalie Rumbol

        Company Administrator

        After the birth of her daughter, Natalie started volunteering in the arts whilst studying business. She has an interest in art, design, and textiles. Natalie believes that creativity supports health and has a passion for art and design. She can often be found organizing and curating our visual art projects. In gaps between projects, she takes care of our administration.

          Learn more about our past work...

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