May 19 2013 Latest news:
by John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A theatre company boss who honed her skills at Barking and Dagenham College is to carry the Olympic torch in recognition of her contribution to the arts.
Sarah Smit, 36, started the award-winning troupe Chain Reaction while studying performing arts at the college in Dagenham Road in her teens.
Her educational theatre group has worked extensively with Barking and Dagenham schools raising awareness of substance abuse, sexual health, bullying and young people’s aspirations.
The mother-of-one will carry the torch in Greenwich on July 21 in recognition of her long-standing work with young people and communities in the capital.
Mrs Smit, of Blackheath, said: “Chain Reaction has done lots of work in Barking and Dagenham as well as south-east London through the arts, theatre work and media projects.
“It’s a real honour to be chosen to hold the torch. You do all this work because you have a passion for it so when that is recognised that’s nice. I’m looking forward to it.”
The company will be in Barking and Dagenham for three weeks in August to run its teenage pregnancy drama and media project, Spread The Word.
Chain Reaction will be at the Gascoigne Community Centre in St Ann’s, Barking, between August 6 and 10, and Alibon Children’s Centre in Sterry Road, Dagenham, from August 13-17.
The group will also be at Sue Bramley Children’s Centre in Bastable Avenue, Barking, between August 20 and 24.
The company also runs a youth theatre at the Vibe centre in Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, every Wednesday from 5pm to 6.30pm.
The company, based in Newham, has engaged more than 340,000 young people since 1994 and won fringe awards at the Edinburgh Festival plus the London 2012 Inspire mark.