‘Safe Ground is a national arts organisation designing and delivering therapeutic group work programmes for people in secure and community settings. The development of ‘Our Own Stories’ was our response to a request for provision designed especially for women with experience of the criminal justice system. The programme was designed in consultation with women in prison and offers participants the space and structure to reflect on, learn from, and plan for, moments of transition and transformation in their lives. It is currently delivered in women’s centres in Hammersmith and Finsbury Park as part of the London-wide Minerva wraparound service.‘
‘Safe Ground works only with expert delivery staff whose style ensures women’s meaningful participation and supports each individual’s progress towards fulfilling their potential. We were privileged to have Nicola lead the delivery of our Finsbury Park programme earlier this year, supported by a centre key worker. Nicola’s experience, insight, creativity and inclusivity were much appreciated by participants, her co-facilitator and staff, and we very much look forward to working with her again in the near future. We are proud to have her as a member of the Safe Ground team’.
Lindsay Murphy, Programmes Director, Safe Ground
‘Nicola co-facilitated a project with Unlock Drama CIC at HMP Hull with serving prisoners, exploring the topic of violence reduction through theatre. She was an asset to the project. Nicola has a calm, caring and positive nature which translated well with the participants within the Criminal Justice setting. She co-directed a devised play, centered around the detrimental consequences of violence and the knock-on affect on others. Within her facilitation style, her acting experience came into play and was really beneficial and wonderful to be a part of.
Rebecca Boden Founder and Artistic Director Unlock Drama CIC
Reading Rep Community ‘Engage‘ programme
‘Interactive sessions at the AP have been complimentary to all other innovations in place to support women to resettle back into community in a positive manner. They supported residents in building positive group dynamics and being able to relate to each other. They also assist residents in becoming less self-conscious, build self-esteem, sense of achievement and encourage them to express themselves in a less conventional way. As all these topics are closely related to increased levels of anxiety and low self worth, it does not surprise me that at times residents found such sessions as quiet a challenge. Unfortunately, at times resistance has been an issue. These usually happens when group dynamics are unhealthy and one person who hold quite a status amongst others displays negative attitude towards the AP programme, this including sessions with Nicola. Nicola has been very successful at ‘rolling with resistance’ and it really paid off. It needs to be recognised that such attitudes have got source in one’s personal difficulties based on fear and anxiety and do not reflect the quality of sessions. Overcoming such fears is a journey and not always residents are ready or want to start such process. We feel that these sessions are very much needed and beneficial to our client group as they support their personal journey of self development and change.’
Magda Le Roux, Offender Supervisor, Elizabeth Fry approved premises, Reading, Berkshire, www.readingrep.com
“Nicola developed and delivered a devising workshop for our 4-week online schools outreach programme, Skill Up in Theatre and Performance. It was very clear from first working together that Nicola was experienced in online delivery, and through warm-up games and activities in breakout rooms helped to foster a really welcoming environment for our participants. It was great to see the students using their cameras and microphones throughout the session to engage with the content – it really mirrored a real-life drama studio! The session was extremely varied and helped our participants to explore different ways to devise content – using text, props and images – as well as giving them the opportunity to work in groups and as individuals. It received amazing feedback from the students, who were really inspired by the session, and Nicola even provided a wealth of resources for further research. Thank you Nicola!”
Lauren Barraclough, Events and Projects Officer, University of Leeds, Arts and Humanities Outreach Team (leeds.ac.uk)
The highlight of Arts 4 Dementia’s Muse of Fire partnership with Southwark Playhouse, under the direction of Nicola Hollinshead, involved participants with early-stage dementia interacting with medical students across zoom screens, creating hilarious scenarios in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Veronica Franklin Gould, Director, Arts 4 Dementia
Nicola is an inspiring and imaginative facilitator who is never afraid to ask questions. I have found her to be eager and keen to continue her work with vulnerable groups. The passion she brings is meaningful and memorable. It’s been a real pleasure to know Nicola and her commitment to social action. Thank you! I hope we get to work together again in the future.
Tony Cealy, Arts Development Practitioner Consultant Trainer Producer Director, www.tonycealy.com
#oldermensdrama07956 877358 & Co–Founder & Curator of 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance – a radical reclaiming of heritage – to imagine, experiment and create new futures.
Niki has worked for me on Muse of Fire, a project for adults with early stage dementia. As a new project for Southwark Playhouse, it was vital that whoever worked on it had the right approach, and Niki has that. Dedicated to ensuring the accessibility of the project to all participants regardless of their ability, she is not only a friendly and welcoming facilitator, but also dedicated and thoughtful in her planning and preparation. She is highly thought of by our participants and myself, and brings a great energy to the work.
David Workman, Youth and Community Director, Southwark Playhouse