For the past 16 months, Lucy Donald has been the Project Manager of With Flying Colours, a four-year project run by the Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership and led by Theatre Royal Plymouth that worked with 11 schools across Plymouth, providing young people with opportunities to engage with the arts.
Lucy is passionate about ensuring young people’s voices are heard.
“I was first approached to work on the With Flying Colours project as a freelance producer for its Co-Pilots programme, the youth steering group that steer the strategy of the project.
“I really enjoyed working with the young people and had a real connection with them wanting to find their confidence within performance. Whilst I was doing that, the Project Manager role was advertised, and I applied for it on a whim, as at the time I was living in London, and I was successful.”
Even from a young age it was clear Lucy would work in theatre.
“In secondary school, I really got into drama. I was lucky enough to perform at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. From there I went to study drama at A-level as well.
“I was quite shy when I was little, and I quite enjoyed being someone else on stage. I thought I wanted to be a performer, but the more I learned about theatre, the more I realised what I love is the team that goes into creating a performance, which is why I’ve transitioned into behind-the-scenes roles.”
It was at university studying Drama and Theatre, when Lucy realised that producing was something she might like to pursue.
“I specialised looking at communities and working with lots of different people interdisciplinary practice and I decided I really wanted to create a pathway for myself in producing. After graduating, I moved down to the South West and started freelancing on small scale projects.
“I did an internship at the Barbican Theatre and worked with Laura Horton on Tryptic Plays. I was also the Assistant Producer for Little Amal which went to COP26. It was a huge community engagement project all about refugees and asylum seekers and celebrating all the different cultures and journeys that each of us goes through.”
The With Flying Colours project, which came to an end last month, was funded by Arts Council England and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. It was delivered by several partners across the city, including the Barbican Theatre, Above Bounds and Exim Dance.
The end of the project was marked with a celebratory festival called ‘Our World’, held in Devonport Park and Marjon Arts Centre over the summer.
“One of the most thrilling parts of the job was producing the festival and creating that festival programme of workshops to improve confidence and wellbeing and allowing the young people to thrive in that environment. It was a wonderful job to have.”
The impact of the project has been clear to see.
“We’re not just bringing young people to the theatre to watch performances, but we’re also giving them the opportunity to create and have their voice heard by adults, by the parents, community, and the city. We’re empowering them to be the best that they can be, and that’s what I really love about it.
“Working on the project has enabled me to work with so many talented people including Danni, the Project Officer and her energy and her passion for working with young people has been amazing. I’ve always understood the value of teamwork but working with Danni has proved to me that passion drives every decision we make.”
Lucy has been inspired by the young people who took part in With Flying Colours and their creativity has made a lasting impression.
“The biggest take away for me is that every single young person has such a unique perspective on the city of Plymouth and the world they live in, and learning about that and seeing how each of them has developed has been so insightful and also has encouraged me to face challenges head on and pushed me to be the best I can be for them.”
Find out more about the With Flying Colours project: withflyingcoloursplymouth.co.uk
Watch Lucy’s video: