About Generate Theatre Arts
By Chris Betton
Chris Betton - Artstic Director, Generate Theatre Arts
Chris is a full-time secondary school English and Drama teacher.
Since completing his degree in Contemporary Theatre and Performance in 2013, Chris has produced work in venues such as London's O2 Arena, Manchester's Lowry Theatre and in mainland Europe. He has also worked on popular programmes such as Hollyoaks and Grange Hill.
Since leaving Poynton Town Council (as the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer) he took Generate from two children in a church hall to hundreds in schools across the region.
In 2012, Generate Theatre Arts launched as a Saturday morning activity in a church hall; and its first class consisted of just two children! Over the next seven years, the team had the pleasure of working with over six thousand students across twenty schools, with more than eight hundred members passing through after-school classes between 2015 and 2019.
In 2018, Generate Theatre Arts began a relationship with the Victoria College of Music and Drama, London. In the year that followed, 126 students took part in their Group Acting Exams, with 60% of applicants achieving Distinctions, and the remaining 40% achieving Merits. This, in addition to blockbuster performances of major musicals at venues such as the Stockport Plaza for an audience of over a thousand family and friends, remains a source of great pride for the former Generate Theatre Arts team and helped to set Generate apart from other theatre schools.
The Department for Education and OFSTED put major focus in recent years on schools providing a well-rounded curriculum, and on social, mental, spiritual and cultural (SMSC) education. For this reason, the Generate Theatre Arts After School Club was a real asset, especially as all teaching and learning within the sessions was designed to support cross-curricular objectives within school. Therefore, our production of 'Oliver!' in 2017 focused heavily on teaching about Victorian London, our production of 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' focused on Christian philosophy, and our production of 'The Wizard of Oz' revolved around education on mental health.
Generate Theatre Arts existed to provide a safe and exciting space for young people to develop personally, socially and academically. I want to extend a great deal of gratitude to everyone who worked with us over the years to enrich young lives.