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The Lyric is a theatre with a national reputation for delivering life-changing programmes for young people. Our flagship programme for marginalised 16 to 25 year olds is START, an accredited six week training course for NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people with the aim of re-engaging them in education, employment or training.

START is a learning alternative which challenges participants to change behaviours which have previously prevented them from succeeding in mainstream education settings using drama to identify, explore and address the underlying causes of their disengagement. They broaden their perspectives by developing a range of characters and scenarios and rehearsing alternative behaviours in a safe environment. They explore issues which are relevant to their own lives and foster a group ethic of inclusivity, accessibility, encouragement, respect and affirmation. For many this alternative form of engaging with skills development and the responsibilities of team work is the first time they have been willing to learn. This project is underpinned by an Arts Award accreditation.

The Summer cohort will begin on Monday 27 May.

To make a referral please contact us via the form below.

In 2016 START celebrated its ten year anniversary, and over these 10 years the programme has worked with 300 young people and supported them on remarkable journeys. Of those that have participated in the programme 87% were referred onto employment, education or training, 82% reported increased confidence in literacy, 100% cited improved soft skills and renewed motivation to achieve future goals and 80% re-engaged in activity or sought further guidance from the Lyric for at least two years following their involvement. The Lyric aims to ensure that they can sustain the programme for another 10 years, continuing to support young Londoners who need it most.

The Lyric works in partnership on this flagship programme and look for referrals from agencies, including youth offending teams, social services and pupil referral units, across West London who refer young people facing complex issues on a daily basis.


START is made possible by the support of generous individuals and trusts and foundations. Thanks to the Emmanuel Kaye Foundation, The Ironmongers’ Company, Paddington Development Trust, Sir John Cass Foundation, St James’ Place Foundation and one anonymous donor.

Make a referral

To make a referral for one of our inclusion projects, please fill in our form via the link below

Inclusion projects referral form