This week, young people from SHP hostels in Camden and Islington were treated to a free and exciting night of theatre at the Almeida near Angel.

The Almeida, which is a stone’s throw from our Barnsbury Park hostel for vulnerable young people, is currently home to a new production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The modern day interpretation of the bard’s famous story stars a host of well-known British actors, including BAFTA winner Andrew Scott in the lead role.

Laura, 18 ,said: “I’ve been studying Hamlet at college for two years, so seeing it brought to life on stage is really important. I have an exam where I’ll be asked to compare different productions and audience interpretations across time, so seeing the production at the Almeida will be a huge help.

“I’ve really enjoyed the modern twist on the play. I never thought I’d say it, but in this production my favourite character is Hamlet, even though he was my least favourite character before. He’s characterised way more interestingly in this production, and he’s funnier than I’ve seen.”

The group were able to enjoy this experience thanks to the Almeida Theatre’s #HamletForFree initiative – five exclusive performances and a range of activities that are free to under 25s.

Mark Pollock, SHP Senior Support Worker and organiser of the trip said: “I think that taking marginalised young people on trips and activities is a vital part of their development. It is a great opportunity for them to escape their day-to-day environments, experience different cultures and develop new social groups.

“I am particularly passionate about giving young people the opportunity to engage in theatre activities. Engaging with a piece of theatre can transport young people across time, space, and culture. They can identify with and inhabit characters that show them new perspectives on the world, which, in turn, can help them relate to their own society.”

Laura said: “The activities I’ve done with SHP are really once in a lifetime opportunities. We never would have been able to do this otherwise – there’s no way we would be able to afford to go to the theatre usually, or have the time if it wasn’t planned so well. This is going to be really helpful to my education, and I’m just really grateful for it.”

Mark added: “In my experience, theatre has a unique power to trigger reflection in the minds of young people; or as Hamlet might say, “to hold the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”