Voicebox. is a community interest company (CIC) who work with young people across London to explore cultural expectations of what it means to be a man, today.
What kind of issue is Voicebox. addressing?
At Voicebox. we acknowledge that poor behaviour from boys in school and the rise of a men’s mental health crisis is linked to notions of masculinity, and the social pressure for males to be ‘manly’.
Cultural expectations of gender have created a narrative whereby boys are expected to grow up to be: strong, self-reliant, accepting of violence and successful. These expectations can be incredibly damaging to the emotional development of boy's and their mental health. For example, the expectation to be strong may lead to boy's not expressing when they are experiencing issues with their wellbeing, as this would be seen as a weakness. In substitute to expressing vulnerability boys and men are more likely to display “masculine behaviour” such as violence, anti-social behaviour, and/or risk taking behaviour.
Who does this effect?
At Voicebox we recognise that current ideas of masculinity have a negative impact on society and in particular oppressed communities. With this in mind, during our workshops we lead inclusive and compassionate conversations. These enable young people to unpack and understand the privilege associated with masculinity and how it works to disadvantage and oppress.
Who is involved in our exploration?
The negative effects of masculinity are not limited to impacting the individual male and his male peers, and indeed effects the way young males understand, relate-to and interact with females. Therefore when we talk about exploring issues of masculinity, it is undoubtedly a conversation that includes both males and females.
How can Voicebox. help?
There is an extreme lack of services for young people to explore the issues caused by notions of masculinity or, how the social pressure to be manly can affect the wellbeing and development of boys/men and their relationship with others. Voicebox. is targeting a crucial point in a boy's development to begin an exploration of masculinity and to encourage positive behavior. This is important in reducing levels of antisocial and oppressive behavior within society.
Through our 4 step method of: identifying, presenting, questioning and rediscovering what it means to be a man, we enable young people to have an awareness of the social pressures that maintain unhealthy behaviors and attitudes.
The use of drama and performance enables workshop participants to;
Present the social pressures that exist for them
Engage with sensitive issues
Develop empathy through working with others
Take risks and build confidence
Make creative choices and express new ideas
Think quickly and be adaptable
Laugh and enjoy the experience of exploring the ideas that arise in the workshop
Creative learning and drama creates an environment where learning is engaging and student led. It allows the participants to explore themes in a creative environment. The young people take ownership over the creative process which enhances the experience and re-enforces the learning outcomes.
The Voicebox. Team
The Voicebox. directors are applied theatre graduates from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
Voicebox. Project and Outreach Coordinator
After graduating, Jack has gone on to work for a plethora of different companies as a freelance drama practitioner. This has included Assistant Directing for Kiln Theatre’s Mapping Brent programme & lead facilitating on young people’s engagement programmes for Reprezent FM, London Bubble & Fresh Arts. Jack is also one half of theatre company Botch Job who have recently been part of the Camden People’s Theatre ‘Starting Blocks’ scheme 2019 with their performance of ‘Suffolk in Colour'.
Voicebox. Company Manager
Andy is an experienced workshop facilitator having worked with a range of different arts organisations including Hoxton Hall, Fresh Arts, Total Insight Theatre and 2020 Dreams. In these institutions Andy has developed and delivered work that approaches: Building Confidence, Mental Health & Positive Thinking, Healthy Relationships, Promoting Cultural Awareness, Personal Hygiene, and more. His broad experience in delivering this work means he understands the complexities, and need for sensitivity, when approaching PSHE themed work.
Voicebox. Marketing & Media Director
During his time at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama John developed plenty of experience in creating, producing and directing theatre projects for a range of community groups. John has also engaged in extensive training in workshop facilitation, and has immersed himself in the study of Gender & Sexuality.
Since co-founding Voicebox. John has developed a passion for understanding the world of media and marketing, and continues to diversify his skill-set by researching the various components that make-up this role. John has developed all of the Voicebox. social media accounts and the company website.
Voicebox. Finance & Administration Director
Fredi has devised and performed a range of theatre work including: theatre for under 5's, clowning & physical theatre productions, and showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on multiple occasions.
Fredi has a strong academic understanding of masculinity and gender issues, having studied gender and sexuality modules at University. Fredi is also currently studying a MSC in Creative Arts and Mental Health at Queen Mary University. His academic expertise ensures that Voicebox.’s work is grounded strongly in contemporary theory of: masculinities, gender, and gender theatre practice.