I think this women is incredible, and you will too. This is all about how I have been inspired by… Sarah Ellis artistic director of Theatre Inspiring Change.
First seeing Sarah at a ladies lunch I was instantly drawn to her energy, passion and honesty. Looking like a million dollars and then some, she owned the room without being over the top, not an easy thing to pull off. So, of course I instantly wanted to be abit like her, truthfully it was intimidating to approach her before we all headed home, but there was nothing to worry about, she was absolutely lovely and joy of joys happy to stay in touch.
Since then I have learnt about her incredible interactive theatre company, which was formed out of a desire to address inequality in society. Their message being a fearless one of making theatre to challenge hate and prejudice, combat discrimination and create equality and inclusion, things I definitely agree with and support.
Their plays tackle the big topics in society: Her plays tackle homophobia, racism, domestic abuse, county lines, racism, consent, sexual health, bullying and healthy relationships. Things that were not talked at all when I was a young person, that are very much part of the conversation now, but that we all still need more education around. Helping people to understand the big issues so they can support and empathise with others is how the world changes for the better.
Many people would agree with this, not many people would be prepared to stand up and make this their lives mission. So how did this happen? Sarah explained that she had always wanted to be an actor and got into top drama school Rose Bruford, which specialised in using theatre to make change.
However, at the age of eighteen she was also in a physically, and mentally abusive relationships with a man, who, when she finally found the strength to leave him, raped her. “I had so many feelings and so much grief from what had happened that I didn’t tell anyone what had happened for years.
After getting her degree in Community Theatre Sarah went on to qualify as a drama teacher. Worked for a TIE company, and started a youth theatre. Sarah realised that this specialist form of theatre could be used to explore healthy relationships with young people. And that would help reduce the amount of young people going through similar situations to the one she found herself in as a teen. With that in mind she started her very own theatre company Theatre Inspiring Change, Sarah said “I guess you could say that I found my voice and at TIC Box Productions”. And it’s that voice that has been creating positive change ever since. Being nominated for, and winning awards left right and centre!
In 2019 they won Community Champion at the Best Business Women’s Awards,
TIC were shortlisted for a European Diversity Award, nominated for a National Diversity Award and were nominated for gender diversity award.
In 2020 after a successful national tour of The Bruise You Can’t See to young people TIC were finalists at the National Diversity Awards. Sarah was the winner of Silver Most Inspiring Businesswoman, at Best Business Woman Awards
2022 saw them win the Shining Star Award, Sarah was Silver Winner as Most Inspiring Businesswoman of the Year at the Best Business Women Awards and Theatre Inspiring Change were shortlisted for a European Diversity Award. Phew.
And just as important to Sarah as all the public recognition, is having reached over 88,000 young people and adults, and with their performances. Having made a genuine difference in all these lives, engaging with everyone, no matter their location, financial status, or age, by promoting gender diversity and equality, is reward in itself.
Lastly as always with my inspirations I ask for their pearl of wisdom, and this one resonates with me like a sonic boom. “You can use whatever you have been through to help others, in my case with our plays combatting hate and inspiring equality. I am proud to speak from a place of authenticity, and power having come out of the other end and turned my life around”.
To find out more about Theatre Inspiring Change