I discovered Bounce Theatre Winter 2010. A fresh expat, I had moved to Kingston-upon-Thames only a few months prior. I was looking and needing something creative to do so I did a Google search. What did I find? Bounce Theatre was presenting The Vagina Monologues at the corner HOUSE in Surbiton. And they were looking for volunteer performers.
It was local. A hop, skip and a jump down the 281. I emailed Bounce immediately. A friendly email returned and I was onboard. I was given a monologue. We had a rehearsal and the next day a performance.
A few months later, Louise asked me if I’d run sound for Bounce’s Hounslow Youth Theatre. I said sure. When I showed up to the theatre for the first rehearsal, I sat in the light booth. From the light booth, I watch this skinny primary school boy walk into the space. He was looking around. Then I heard, Louise’s voice ring from the audience. She called the boy’s name then said, “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!”
The boy looked startled as if god had just talked to him. By 2011, I was working with that youth theatre. That boy and the rest of them brought me such joy during my time with Bounce. Those young people taught me patience. They honed my creativity. They showed me the power of the arts and how it could transform lives.
Now back home in Michigan, I incorporate Bounce values and approaches in my dance classes here. I want to encourage and nurture my students’ creativity and curiosity, like we did when I worked with the youth theatre or on a heritage projects.
I say this with the greatest of love for Bounce Theatre, Louise, its facilitators and participants. You ruined me in a beautiful way. With that I express my deepest of gratitude! xxx
Former Hounslow Youth Theatre Member and our first paid trainee at Creative Cafe
Some of my memories from the youth theatre were the buzz we all felt before a show. Plus the excitement and freedom we had as young people doing something different to what others were doing. We were able to go out to different places like the Rose Theatre and to Central London for a number of things. We met people from all walks of life who we may not have met without the youth theatre.
My memories from the cafe…I have so many! I loved the Creative Cafe and it gave me a real purpose. I think about the children everyday. I wish it were still going. I loved the community spirit and closeness we were able to bring and I enjoyed seeing how the children had fun when coming and how their lives were changing and the feel of the estate during the cafe.
I am now at University studying physical education and youth sports with the hopes of eventually becoming a head teacher so that I can continue to have a positive influence and effect on children and young people.
All of my memories of Bounce were enjoyable. From preparing and performing Angels to Urban Art Stories.
Taking park in the Urban Art Stories project gave me the opportunity to venture across London, seeking out the footprints of street artists on urban landscapes. Visiting the Leake Street graffiti tunnel is a memory that I can never erase because experiencing the art physically opened my eyes to the many different social and political issues, visually conveyed on a blank canvas wall. Through this project I was able to develop essential skills such as decision-making and communication, as well as art-specific skills that include curation and basic graffiti techniques. Not to mention the fact I was even able to win a Jack Petchey award for outstanding achiever, which was absolutely amazing.
Joining in with Loneliness and the City helped me realise my potential in drama and the arts industry. I had given up G.C.S.E drama but after two months passed on the project, I realise what’s missing in my life…creativity. I missed discussing ideas and hearing peoples interpretation of styles of art. I realised how much enthusiasm I had for drama as before I knew it I was in a group debating how we should position ourselves for a performance!
I went back to G.C.S.E drama before the project had finished! Results day has gone past, ( 2 A*s and an A). At this point it was obvious what I was going to take further to sixth form…Drama! Combined with English literature and Sociology. Although it is a step up from GCSE, if it’s something you enjoy it really won’t matter. I always wonder what might have happened if I never worked with Bounce and if I never met Louise that gave me the encouragement to explore these creative subjects. I will forever be grateful
Volunteer, Practitioner and former Company Director
I first discovered Bounce in a room above TGI Fridays. Louise came in armed with scripts, Arts Awards and sweets and I was sold. I remember noticing how she had a talent for riling the young people up about things like social politics, identity, what was right and wrong with the world… at the dinner table this might not be ideal, but in a room full of disengaged teens it’s quite a feat! Their energy turned to creativity and thus passionate and real work could be born.
Early on in my Bounce journey, I visited the youth theatre in Hounslow. I’ll never forget the way Louise and Apryl spoke to the groups of young people, honest, direct and open. Naturally, I magpied this approach and have since encourage all any new facilitator to do the same.
If I remember correctly, this was also the session I discovered my (still) favourite game of all time ‘Death Potato’. A Pendry classic where all the lights are turned out and your senses become key, perfect mix of playing whilst paying attention…. with a smidge of danger thrown in for good measure of course!
Looking back at these sessions I suppose I learnt the things that have stayed with me pretty early on, though these have been developed over the years. Listen. Communicate. Play. In whichever order they come, these three things are always present and need to be in order to make work or even just basic relationships.
One of the many things I enjoyed about my time at Bounce was the range of creative activities things I got to try. Just as she does with the kids, Louise pushes for us all to ‘lean in to’ and enjoy our own creativity, whatever shape it may form and I suppose that’s where I found craft. Making bunting for a school prom or literary flowers for an enchanted forest, I could disappear for hours down a tunnel of content creative focus and when I resurfaced I felt well, refreshed, nourished. These were the first few buds of Creative Spaces London, offering moments to be here, making, being. So much time is spent time travelling re-living the past or pre-living the future and it’s a tough habit to break, (I’m still trying) but ‘being’, crafting, paying attention gives a little release a place to go and play, listen, communicate.
Cut to 7 years after that first meeting in a room above TGI’s and I’m coming into rooms armed with crafts, Arts Awards and sweets for CLS. I feel really proud of what we do and have so much fun doing it. Inevitably sometimes I miss the Bounce Brigade but that’s nothing that a bit of time with a good friend & a bag of sweets can’t solve x
My names Natalie Rumbol, I’m 22 years old and I have a 2 year old daughter named Talia-Rose Rumbol. Its just Talia-Rose and myself.
I got involved with Bounce shortly after having my daughter when I started volunteering at Anstee Bridge. I was once a student at Anstee and done my arts award with Louise. She used to bring me skittles for motivation to write.
In 2018 me and Louise sat down after both having our beautiful babies. Louise already having a business offered me support in wanting to still be more then just a mum. So we set up Mum plus+ to provide support and professional work coaching for mums to think about their other roles outside of motherhood. Now I get to work with Louise, sharing ideas towards our Mums Plus+ project. I am hoping to extend and build to offer more mums the opportunity to get involved!
Bounce is friendly, welcoming and a massively supportive company. It has and is continuing to build my own confidence and help me feel a sense of achievement. I’m motivated to reach my own goals and keep achieving. My daughter benefits hugely due to my attitude towards life!
From average Year 10s to emerging artists, we have been pushed artistically to develop Loneliness in the City. We decided to base it on loneliness, because even though there are many social awareness campaigns, most of them are by older people. Ours is just drama and art students learning to progress in the world. We started our project in September where we worked on creating a lonely character. We named him Bob. We later introduced Suzie, another lonely person. Through our model box and later our photos we have shown how different people see the world. Some live in Bobs’ room – dark and gloomy. Others live in bright rooms such as Suzie. Despite what you think, they are both lonely. This shows us that nothing can define a person or how they feel.
I would like to thank Bounce Theatre for making the experience happen, in particular a very big thank you to David and Louise who have led us, helped us and even bought biscuits. We could never have done all this without them.