Rags to riches Hornchurch theatre group receive charity status at last

Habbit Factory theatre group has been given charity status after a piece boosted them in 2012

Habbit Factory theatre group has been given charity status after a piece boosted them in 2012 - Credit: Archant

A theatre company has received charity status to top off a classic rags to riches tale.

The Habbit Factory, which supports able and disabled children, was forced to contact the Recorder in February 2012 to appeal for new members after numbers dropped to just 17 regulars.

Three years later, after a lengthy wait, it has received charity status and has more than 200 youngsters on its books.

The group’s goal is to give children from all backgrounds the confidence they need in life through dramatic arts and new funding will only boost its capabilities.

Lee Giles, 24, artistic director at the factory, has been there since the start.

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“After that article went out in 2012 we had loads of people phoning up,” he said. “By July we had 70 or 80 members. It’s been an amazing journey.”

There are three sessions every week, held in Hornchurch and Harold Wood.

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The factory uses singing, dancing and acting lessons to give youngsters aged seven to 17 the confidence to perform in front of crowds of hundreds of people.

The company was formed in 2004 as The Habbit Shed, run by Susan Wilson at Abbs Cross School, in Hornchurch. At this time the group performed in churches and community halls .

In 2011 Lee teamed up with Jade Couch to become directors and brought new life to the company, renaming it The Habbit Factory.

The youngsters produce one show and one film project a year, but Lee has ambitions beyond that.

“We are looking at doing a show at Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch,” he said. “It’s based on a musical we’ve done.”

Monday sessions are held at Whybridge Junior School in Blacksmith’s Lane, Hornchurch between 5-6.15pm (ages seven to 11) and 6.15-7.30 (ages 11-17)

Tuesdays sessions are at Abbs Cross Academy in Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch at the same times and Wednesdays sessions are at myplace in Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Wood, at the same time.

Visit thehabbitfactory.net for more information.

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