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Our Trustee Matthew Craig to cycle across France for Blue Elephant Theatre

Date published
Sunday 16 April 2023

Matthew Craig, one of our dedicated team of trustees, is cycling across France to raise funds for Blue Elephant Theatre.

He says:

This May, I am planning to cycle across France, from the Channel to the Med - 627 miles in 8 days - to raise funds for the Blue Elephant Theatre (BET) in Camberwell.

BET is a very special place; it is both a community hub on a disadvantaged housing estate providing high-quality participation opportunities and also a vibrant venue which supports emerging artists. The participation work, which has generated positive outcomes for two decades, includes Young People’s Theatre, a youth theatre for over 150 vulnerable young people every year, Creative Minds, a schools partnership project, and Playing Up, supporting early years' creative practice. The Blue Elephant has a well-earned reputation for providing exceptional value for money. But recent changes to its funding by Southwark Council and the Arts Council have placed the theatre in a very vulnerable position. Hence, my bike ride across France, from top to bottom, of 627 miles and around 27,500 of climbing, over 8 days. It should be a great experience, but also a demanding physical and mental challenge. Naturally, I will cover all costs myself, so any funds raised will go to this very good cause.

Why Should You Support The Blue Elephant?

Due to funding cuts, BET is now prioritizing its participation and outreach work, in keeping with its ethos of providing artistic opportunities to those who otherwise may not have access to them.

“The community needs BET because we don’t have a lot of money…[BET gets young people] off the streets [where] there’s a lot of gang-related incidents. They’re getting everything catered for in one space – social, emotional, physical, imagination.” (Parent of participant)

“It’s amazing what BET do for disadvantaged communities. I could have got caught up with the wrong crowd if it wasn't for my experience working with BET.”

I've been involved BET for several years, and I know it has changed peoples’ lives for the better. Many thanks for reading this and I hope you can support the Blue Elephant; it will help me keep going when the road points upwards, or my legs are complaining!

Matt Craig
Trustee, Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell