Middleton Client Story: Chickenshed

904 836 Middleton Advisors

The charitable theatre company that is creating wonder out of chaos and change out of challenge.

Middleton client James Lock, who is Managing Director of Blackstone’s Real Estate Group, has been a Trustee of the charity Chickenshed since 2017 and is also a member of the fundraising committee. Founded in 1974 with a belief in the power of inclusion to change the world for the better, the company moved into its own purpose-built theatre in North London in 1994, and has gone from strength to strength. Chickenshed now offers education to degree level, participation and performance, outreach and mentoring.

The group’s recent performance on Britain’s Got Talent has brought further acclaim, as well as a coveted ‘Golden Buzzer’ to send them through to 2023’s live semi-finals. Judge Alesha Dixon summed up exactly what Chickenshed is all about when she responded to the group’s performance of ‘Wonder’, by saying, “I love every single thing that you stand for and what you represent – inclusivity is so important, everyone being represented. You do that in abundance, and you’re giving young people this incredible opportunity and platform and honestly I don’t know what else is more important than that.”

“The charity has been a major force for change, bringing together young people from all social and economic backgrounds, cultures and abilities, in a safe creative space where they can study creatively and gain confidence.” says James Lock

How and why did you first get involved in Chickenshed?

“Having seen them perform, I was inspired by their collective courage and energy to take the challenges that each of them face in their day-to-day lives and use those challenges as a positive, from which they then create amazing performances on stage and a deep support network for each other off-stage. This is the power of ‘belonging’ and having an identity.”

What does your role as a Trustee involve?

“I help my fellow Trustees and the amazing senior management team at Chickenshed to safeguard the future of the theatre for generations to come and put it in the best financial position to support its further growth.”

How are your own acting skills?

“I was the rear of the cow in the school play. That – I’m afraid – best summarises my own acting abilities!”

Find out more about Chickenshed and their activities here. 

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