JMB Voices

Voices – Awkward City Theatre Community Project

WISE16 contacted Carla and Amy Lewis, Directors of Awkward City Theatre Company to talk about their new community project ‘Voices’.

Awkward City Theatre company are working with London College of Communication on an exciting project supported by the Arts Council England. VOICES brings live performance, writing, photography and film to the Joint Management Board housing Estate in London Bridge area in Southwark, a short distance of Bermondsey Street.

WISE16 spoke to Carla and Amy about how this project can empower young people while helping them to develop new skills.

Let’s start by asking what is the Voices project?

Carla / Voices is a year-long social arts integration project working with housing tenants from the JMB Housing Association. We will be working with young people in Southwark to champion them and give them a say within their community through live performance, video and photography work

We will deliver activities designed to promote community cohesion and creative development. The activities will be exciting, challenging and engaging for young people of all backgrounds and abilities.Throughout the project there will be lots of opportunities for participants to show their work and the final outcome will result in a showcase of work on the estate in the form of live performance, writing, film, photography and installation work to an audience made up of those local to or living on the estate.

Tell us more about Awkward City Company?

Amy / Awkward City is a London based theatre group led by myself and Carla. We create original multi-media theatre and deliver community arts and social integration projects. Awkward City are supported by the Arts Council England

How did the company get involved in this project?

Carla /Awkward City were working on a project two years ago with an artist who graduated from London College of Communication and through this we were introduced to Joel Karamaththe Course Director of Interaction Design Arts at LCC. We were then invited to run workshops with the first year students from the course. Voices actually began two years ago as a project entitled Journeys. Journeys started as a collaborative project between the residents of JMB and students from LCC’s Interaction Design Arts course. Still working with LCC, Awkward City were invited to run the next phase of the project.

What are the roles of LCC and JMB in the Voices project?

Amy / Voices is a collaboration between Awkward City, London College of Communication and Leathermarket JMB. We are excited by this opportunity to work with both with the course leader Joel Karamath and his very talented students working on the Interaction Design Arts course.The role of the students from LCC is key to this project as they will be involved in leading sessions and developing work with the young people.

Who can benefit from this project?

Carla / Anyone between the ages of 14-17 can benefit from this project. Most importantly, we are aware of economic restrictions nowadays for young people, that is why enrolling in the Voices project is free of charge and open to anyone in the age group of all ability and experience.

Do you need to be living in one of the JMB areas to take part on it?

Amy / Voices will focus on recruiting young people who are currently living on one of the JMB estates. We want to hear from anyone who is interested in taking part and encourage local community groups and other TRAs to share this article so we can reach as many young people as possible.

Many young people may feel nervous about expressing their creativity in front of others, what would you say to them?

Carla / It is very common to feel nervous when getting involved with a new group and stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary! What I can say to any young person reading this article is that we will encouraging you to challenge yourself. We offer a safe, inclusive and supportive environment where you will be able to express yourself through creativity. You can explore theatre making, writing, photography and film. The great thing about the project is that you get to choose what area interests you most and explore it in your own way. You don’t need to have any experience and you might end the project with a whole new set of skills!

Our message to parents and the young people interested in the project is that it will be great fun and it’s an amazing opportunity to get involved.

When would the project take place?

Carla /The project will run twice weekly in the evenings and will take place within various community settings across the Southwark area.

How can young people who are interested get in touch?

Carla / There are a few ways young people can register their interest. They can contact Awkward City at  or they can get in touch with Charlotte from JMB at they can also be kept up to date via our Facebook page @VoicesJMB and our Twitter page @Voices_JMB

In a few words, why would you recommend young people to participate in the project?

Amy / It is a fantastic opportunity for all young people to get involved in and as mentioned earlier; regardless of ability and experience this project is for everyone.

We aim for the workshop sessions to widen the opportunities for the participants in the future and we hope that by the end of Voices the participants will gain more confidence in their creative ability. All they need to do is come along and we will provide them with a platform to be heard! It’s also a great way of meeting new people and challenge yourself.

  @Voices_JMB  VoicesJMB

Awkward City Logo

Awkward City Company

Awkward City is a London based multi-media company run by Amy Lewis and Carla Lewis. Our work is driven by an interest human behaviour and we create original work using new and interactive technologies.

Awkward City Theatre Artistic Director Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis

Awkward City Theatre Artistic Directors Amy Lewis

Carla Lewis

Amy Lewis has a degree in Devised Theatre from Dartington College of Arts,Devon. Amy is a London based director and workshop facilitator with a strong interest in interactive technology and physical performance. Amy is part if the Young Vic Directors Programme and has recently been developing work in the USA.

Carla Lewis is a physical performer with a strong passion for devised theatre and improvisation. Carla has a degree in theatre and choreography from Dartington College of Arts, Devon and has most recently been training in improvisation at Second City, LA


Awkward City Theatre company offers a wide-array of workshop sessions for professionals, graduates, young artists and institutions. Amy and Carla provide specialism in devising visual theatre, multi-media for live performance and physical performance. Workshops are tailored for the session and participants’ age and ability.  @awkward_city  AwkwardCity

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