• Donate


    The Garage is a charity with a mission to enable children and young people from disadvantaged circumstances to have equal access to enjoy and develop through watching and taking part in the performing arts.

    We reach hundreds of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, providing a welcoming space for them to be themselves. For young people in difficult and chaotic circumstances, we provide continuity, individual support and a positive diversion from the challenges that they face.

    Through our ‘Big Breaks’ bursary scheme, we support vulnerable young people to gain skills and confidence, to make new friends and gain an increased sense of belonging. Between 2013 and 2016 we supported over 990 children and young people on the programme, delivering 1082 hours of one-to-one support, with 90% of young people experiencing a positive change.

    Every young person on our Big Breaks scheme has been referred to us through our network of partners including schools, statutory agencies and charities working with children and families in challenging circumstances. This ensures that Big Breaks places go to the young people that need it most.


    Our support team offer individual encouragement and mentoring to enable Big Breaks recipient’s to access, have fun and progress through taking part in the performing arts. We make a difference by:

    • Enabling young people to develop valuable skills including performance, confidence and team working.
    • Developing the aspiration of participants to engage in positive activities
    • Supporting disadvantaged young people to access our popular school holiday programmes
    • Helping with associated costs such as transport, dancewear and equipment
    • Providing opportunities to achieve nationally recognised Arts Awards qualifications
    • Enabling young people to achieve outside school and celebrate their achievements
    • Big Nights Out trips for children and their families enable them to have positive experiences together
    • Running a Creative Foundations course which gives participants the confidence to develop their skills at The Garage, leading to free annual membership to our dance, theatre or music classes

    We have many more disadvantaged young people referred to us than we have resources. By donating you can help us to make a difference to even more children and young people in challenging circumstances. Your donation will go a long way, for example:

    • £15 pays for a mentoring session for a young person
    • £5 pays for a big night out ticket
    • £66 pays for a term of class membership for a young person

    To make a donation visit our page on Virgin Giving:

    Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving


    If you are an organisation that is looking for a charity to support, please get in touch with Emma Stanley, Development and Marketing Lead on Your contribution could help to change young people’s lives, for example:

    • £185 pays for a young person to take part in our school holiday programmes
    • £300 pays for qualification costs for 10 young people
    • £500 pays for 5 weeks delivery of our ‘Creative foundations course




  • Funders

    The Garage Trust is an independent charity established in 2002. Since opening, a wide range of trusts, foundations, grant giving bodies, statutory organisations, businesses and other supporters have helped us raise the funds to develop our programme, projects and activities. Although we provide opportunities for all ages, much of our work is focused on supporting young people, particularly those that are disadvantaged, vulnerable or with the fewest opportunities.

    The staff, Board of Trustees and all the young people who use The Garage would like to say a big thank you to all our current and past supporters, a selection of which are below:


    The Garage supporters


  • Case Studies


    To celebrate a decade of The Garage, we spoke to some of our participants about their journey with us and what made it so special. You can read their stories in the following case studies below. 



    “I love the feeling of being on stage, being able to connect with the audience, making a room go quiet and then the round of applause at the end”

    Dano, participant in SLAM nights, Musicians Development Programme, and festival performances with The Garage.

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “Everybody is here because they want to be. It’s not because we are forced, we choose to join because we want to progress and get better together. We all get what we need, it’s a great environment to be in” 

    Dominic Trevorparticipant in Passion, Musicians Development Programme, and The Garage productions.

    Click here to read his full case study.

    "...through the years I’ve gained more confidence, made more friends and I’m happy to talk to people now.” 

    Jake Harrison, participant in NT Connections projects, Youth Theatre Company, The Garage Summer productions. 

    Click here to read his full case study.

    “I imagine myself as an old lady still teaching D4Dance at the Garage – it’s so close to my heart I’d find it hard to give it up!”

    Katy Dunne, tutor for D4Dance performance company, D4Dance Seniors, Junior Movers, Adult Contemporary and Toddler Dance.

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “The Garage team are really supportive”

    Mya Hopkins, part of the Creative Foundations course, The Jungle Book Summer Production, and Senior Theatre. 

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “D4Dance is an amazing group and I really love it”

    Nick Doig, participant in D4Dance, Total Ensemble and Slanted Dance Creative Performance group.

    Click here to read his full case study.

    "I just love being in the Garage and I’ll be here forever”

    Rachel Graham, participant in Arts Award, Breakdance, Creative Foundations course, The Jungle Book Summer Production and Senior Theatre. 

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “The Garage gave me lots of support and encouragement, space to grow and develop and a huge list of things to do!”

    Rebecca Chapman, Theatre Tutor, Director of Garage Summer productions, and leads Total Ensemble Theatre Company. 

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “Music takes me into another world. I can just relax and feel like I’m actually me.”

    Rianne Collins, participant in SLAM nights and Musicians Development Programme. 

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “The Garage is the only venue in Norwich whose programming is focussed solely on young people and contemporary performance.I know it is a safe bet to arrange a trip to The Garage and the young people are always enthusiastic about the performances they see”

    Rose Coppard, Teacher in charge of Drama at Northgate High School. Bronze and Silver Arts Award advisor. 

    Click here to read her full case study.

    “Abby is a phenomenal dance tutor - she really understands what children are thinking”

    Zoey & Christina Taylor, Toddler Dance participants.

    Click here to read their full case study.


    All photographs copyright Benjamin Mathers Photography

  • Board of Trustees

    The Garage Trust Ltd is guided by an experienced and dedicated board of trustees consisting of professionals from the business sector, local authorities and community based organisations. Each trustee provides valuable skills, experience and insights that support the management team and guide the strategic development of our work. Our current trustees are:

    Maggie Wheeler (Chair of the Board of Trustees)

    Maggie came to Norwich in 1972 to go to UEA ...and stayed! After graduating with a degree in English and American literature she trained as a social worker and has spent most of her working life in health and social care.

    She chaired Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (mental health services) for 10 years until April 2013. She has also been a trustee and chair of Age UK Norwich. She does freelance work as a facilitator, and had worked with many organisations on governance and board development.

    Maggie joined the trustees of The Garage in Autumn 2012 and feels privileged to be asked to be the Chair. She is passionate about Norwich, and keen that The Garage play its full part in the cultural scene of the city - especially in showing what young people can contribute.

    Tom Garrod

    In 2009, at the age of 21, Tom was elected to Norfolk County Council representing Great Yarmouth North and Central. As well as being a Trustee of The Garage, he is also a Trustee of SeaChange Arts. Tom enjoys reading, socialising with friends and is a volunteer crewmember of Caister Lifeboat.

    Sarah Hamilton

    Sarah joined the Board in 2014.  She is currently Director of Marketing at Norwich University of the Arts, overseeing all the University’s marketing, communications, student recruitment, events, development and work with schools. With a background in TV Production she first came to Norwich in 1992 to work on Unnatural Causes, one of the PD James dramas made by Anglia TV,  and  continued to work between London and Norfolk until joining NUA in 2009.

    Joanna Keane

    Joanna is 22 years old and has worked at Lovewell Blake LLP for 3 years. She works in the Corporate Services department preparing accounts for limited companies, assisting with audits, completing all pension scheme audits for the department and preparing management accounts for smaller limited companies. She is very hard working,  strives to do her best at all times, keen to try new things and always has a very positive attitude.

    Performing arts has always been a big part of Joanna's life which is one of the reasons why she was so interested in becoming a Trustee of The Garage Trust. At the age of 3 she started dance classes and performed in shows at the Theatre Royal and also at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. More recently, she has been part of a production group where she has performed and also choreographed shows, performing at The Playhouse and also in Dereham and in Bungay.

    Joanna feels that the responsibility of being a Trustee will benefit her greatly and is willing to put in the time needed to both support the Trust and gain valuable skills.

    Catrin Parry-Jones

    Catrin is a graduate of the University of Birmingham, The University of Wolverhampton and Oxford Brookes. Catrin has worked in Education for 18 years.  After training and teaching  in Shropshire and the Midlands, she has worked as a head teacher in Norfolk for the last eight. She is currently headteacher of West Earlham Junior School, one of the communities served by the Garage Delivery Programme. Catrin has a background in creative education leading one of the Creative Partnerships’ National Schools of Creativity and running national workshops on the Mantle of the Expert System, Learning through Drama and the Leadership of Creative Learning.

    Robert Tiffen

    Rob Tiffen is an Associate of Ashton KCJ in Norwich. He has been on the board since 2007. He has also served as trustee and vice-chairman of the board of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich from 2005 to 2009. Prior to training as a lawyer, Rob trained and worked as a professional actor.

    Mari Martin 

    Mari studied drama and dance at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire before an early career as a performer, workshop leader and community theatre director at Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Gazebo Theatre in Education Company West Midlands and West Midlands Art Link.

    Prior to coming to Norfolk in 1995, Mari worked as a Community Arts Officer in Walsall in the West Midlands. As Head of the Arts and Events Service at Norfolk County Council, Mari liaised closely with senior Elected Members and Chief Officers, advocating the vital role that culture plays in the social and economic life of the county. Mari was responsible for the establishment of the Norfolk Cultural Board and more recently the new Anglia Cultural Board which is made up of cultural leaders from Norfolk and Suffolk, and representatives of the Arts Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and other bodies, including the National Trust and Tourism agencies.

    As well as having responsibility for the Council’s arts services, Mari’s team was responsible for the delivery of major events. The team lead an extensive four year Olympic and Paralympic programme, was responsible for the delivery of the Torch Relay across the county, and delivery of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race.

    Daniel Pitt

    Daniel Pitt has held the post of Arts Producer at Cambridge Junction ( arts centre since September 2012. He curates and manages the Theatre and Dance programme including annual festival, Family programme and Artistic Development activities for emerging and established performance makers.

    Prior to moving to Cambridge, he was Artists’ Producer for the UK contingent on a surprise event called Piccadilly Circus Circus, conceived and created by visual and circus theatre producing organisation Crying Out Loud (, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

    Daniel joined Crying Out Loud in 2010 as Assistant Producer, recipient of a DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursar. Notable projects with COL include project managing Aurelia Thierree’s Murmurs at the Southbank Centre over Christmas 2011.

    Daniel holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama from the University of Birmingham. He sometimes still makes performance projects of his own and is currently directing a disabled-led spoken word show.