Odd Arts – Next in the community alliance spotlight series
Next in our community alliance spotlight series is Odd Arts. Part of the Manchester community alliance, Odd Arts is a Manchester charity delivering innovative and creative programmes, across all art forms, with vulnerable and excluded groups. Specialising in delivering theatre-based programmes that challenge and change attitudes and behaviours, Odd Arts work with participants to devise theatre, from their own experiences as well as touring professional interactive theatre performances on challenging topics.
All practise is underpinned by restorative approaches, non-violent communication and trauma informed approaches.
Odd Arts expertise and specialisms include;
- Violence Reduction – youth violence; sexual violence; extremism/radicalisation
- Mental Health – emotional resilience; self-harm/anxiety/stress – prevention & targeted
- Healthy Relationships – consent; domestic abuse; relationship abuse
Supported by the Violence Reduction Unit, Greater Manchester Police, and the University of Manchester, Odd Arts have developed and delivered a workshop on consent and sexual violence reduction to colleges and universities across Greater Manchester, titled ‘Grey Area’. Which is an interactive forum theatre performance and workshop using professional actors and specialist facilitators to explore key issues around consent and sexual assault.
Based on direct testimony of survivors of sexual assault, this particular performance focuses on what exactly is meant by consent and sexual assault, and the impact on the victim. The workshop involves interactive debate and discussion and engagement with the actors in performance in order to search for solutions. Students are faced with the kind of challenges they might experience in real life, with the knowledge that this intervention is a type of rehearsal, where it is ok to get things wrong. The desire to do something and the act of intervening is the important skill.
There is a post-performance discussion to explore many of the wider and complex themes and so called ‘grey areas’ around consent, sexual assault and rape. The emphasis is on listening, without judgement and working together in an attempt to make change.
The workshop is 60 to 90 minutes long and is suitable for 6th form students upwards (including adults). Safeguarding staff and support are available for debriefs/follow up.
After the workshop, young people reported better understanding and awareness of consent and feeling better resourced to deal with an incident that could happen to themselves or someone close to them.
The community-led approach to violence reduction brings together Greater Manchester Police, National Probation Service, health and education professionals, youth justice and local authorities to address the underlying causes of violence and work together with communities to prevent it.
In March 2021, two alliances made up of VCSE organisations in Bolton and Manchester were awarded funds as part of Greater Manchester’s investment in community-led pilots, which are being rolled out in six boroughs as part of the Serious Violence Action Plan launched last summer. In October 2021, funds were awarded to the newly formed alliance in Salford.
The alliances, amongst other things, strengthen relationships and trust between the community and partners from the voluntary and statutory sectors.