Volunteering Story of the Month - Max and Helen

I first came across Chickenshed shortly after I moved to New Barnet in 1986. Someone persuaded me to watch a Chickenshed performance in All Saints Church, Whetstone and was deeply impressed by the work of a group of young people, many with significant additional needs, who attained remarkable achievements on the stage that evening. My mother and I became supporters.

Soon after I married Helen. The theatre in Cockfosters was built and we brought our two young children to Story World which became Tales from the Shed. The children grew to love it and both joined the Children’s Theatre at five years old. Helen began to volunteer to help with mailings and chaperoning. At that point, the car park was still a poorly lit mud track and I helped people safely park and make their way into the theatre for evening productions.

Our children, David and Laura, grew up with Chickenshed and learnt so much through the inclusive sessions they attended and the many and varied shows they performed in. After they both left at 18 years old to pursue further education away from home, we found that we had more time available to volunteer Front of House and could “give back” to support Chickenshed’s inspiring educational work with young people and adults.

After having both retired from teaching, we trained to be Duty Managers and joined the Community Choir when it began. We helped with awareness and fundraising events, ran visits to other theatre productions and Friendship Matinee concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for volunteers.

In 2018, we became stage performers too, in an intergenerational project called The Space Between Us.  We both deeply appreciate the friendship and sense of community among the many volunteers, students and staff that make Chickenshed Theatre the very special and inclusive place that it is today.