Alyssia joined Chickenshed in 2014 after her (then) counsellor suggested she attend, as she was a young carer for her mother at the time. With so many adult responsibilities, young carers can often feel isolated and are unable to fully pursue what they love to do. Four years on, Alyssia is in her fourth year of study at Chickenshed and has found a passion for Production and regularly volunteers backstage with our Production staff. 


Chickenshed has helped me in more ways than I think they realise. I joined their Youth Theatre in April 2014. I was referred to them by my (then) counsellor because I was a young carer for my Mum. I was in Year 11, prepping for my GCSEs and instantly knew I wanted to join their student body as the atmosphere was so lovely, friendly and relaxing. 

My first performance with them was 'The Ever Popular War Show'. It was something new and different and my first professional performance! Next came 'Peter Pan', my first Christmas Show with the company. Playing a fierce 'Nevernative' I loved every second of it. Now this performance holds a special place in my heart as on 23 December 2014, the last show before Christmas, my Mum sat in the audience (I had no idea until I saw her whilst on stage) and saw me perform. Not putting on my best because she was there but putting on my best because it's what I enjoyed doing. And that was the last time she saw me perform as she died just a little over a month later. And I will always be grateful to Chickenshed for that memory, one of my last good memories of her. 

I approached someone, explained and made my way home sobbing. I could stay. There were funds in place for people like me and that was the best news to me! 

Two days after her death I was back in The Rayne Theatre for rehearsals of 'Changing Stages'. Terrified, thinking I wouldn't be able to afford to stay in Youth Theatre, at Chickenshed, my coping mechanism, I approached someone, explained and made my way home sobbing. I could stay. There were funds in place for people like me and that was the best news to me! My last show as a Youth Theatre member was the festival, where I was part of 'The Ancient Mariners Crew' and it pushed me. It was very physical and I had lines and that was the first show that my Nan saw. 

Fast-forward to today, in my fourth year of study at Chickenshed. They have helped me develop as a performer and as a person. They've opened my eyes. I now actively volunteer backstage and help the Production team and am learning so much! Not just from the tutors but from staff of all departments. It has helped me come to learn and accept who I am in an environment where I am accepted. I love Chickenshed and what it's done for me and I'd love for it to continue to do the same for others. Chickenshed isn't just a Theatre or a place of study to me. It's home. 

Help to give a stage to more people like Alyssia