WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
Gosforth Civic Theatre is an arts venue and café in Gosforth which opened in Autumn 2016, and is home to, and run by, Liberdade Community Development Trust. Liberdade, founded in 2003, is a charity which gives people with learning disabilities the opportunity to belong, work and get involved in the arts and their community.
We have created a truly inclusive venue at the heart of the community that aims to break down misconceptions of learning disabilities by being a space where everyone is welcome to enjoy our café, get involved in a class or go to a show. We’re a not-for-profit organisation so every penny you spend goes back in to Liberdade and the venue.
" It’s an important message that, there are places where people can come together, can share their jokes, their stories, what concerns them, discuss the way the world is. We are social animals, we need places to meet, to talk, to have a drink, to have a laugh. This looks like a good place where people can be that.”
Ken Loach ( At the screening of 'Spirit of '45 At Gosforth Civic Theatre Aug 2016 )
Historically society has created places for people with learning disabilities to go, this has meant that this group of people are often segregated with few opportunities to demonstrate their social worth. This segregation has also meant members of the public have often had few or no opportunities to get to know people with learning disabilities, therefore fear of, and misconceptions about people with learning disabilities have developed.
We have always aimed to raise the publics expectations of what people with learning disabilities can achieve. We do this by creating high quality performance and film work for a public audience. Now we also have our own 200 seat theatre that provides a relaxed opportunity to bring people with learning disabilities and members of the public together on a daily basis. We programme high quality theatre, dance, cinema and music and sell great coffee for everyone, in return we get social change.
1 To bring more local people and people with learning disabilities together in a building that provides great art for everyone.
2 To provide a model that shows how other organisation can use an entrepreneurial approach to solve social problems.
3 To provide cultural and community activities for everyone to enjoy, supporting artists and the wider cultural community.
4 To regenerate the building to become an asset the heart of the local community
The impact of our work will be two fold:
1 People with learning disabilities will have the opportunity to proactively and positively shape how the general public view them. This is a clear societal benefit and a model that can be replicated by other organisations. This also has personal impact by building on self esteem and promotes health and wellbeing.
2 Local people of all backgrounds will have a theatre and space where they can come together, enjoy performance, film, and music and use as an important social hub.