Who We Are

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We use interactive, immersive techniques to create cheap, participatory work that happens off stage and up close in estate community spaces and parks. Our performances in our base on the modernist estate of Kensal House in West London, and our heritage youth projects, youth shows, and youth films have won awards and press attention nationally. They are recognised for the do-it-yourself-passion which informs their creative ambition, up-to-date subject matter, distinctive form, and the fresh voices of the people at their heart.   We are also committed to the restoring and improving the important communal spaces and buildings where estate life takes place.

We celebrate the true diversity embodied by social housings’ architecture, the way it unites people of every different age, class and race. Our work focuses on all we have in common; the spaces we share, the heritage that belongs to all of us, and the youth of tomorrow, for whom we are all responsible.


Our free sessions are targeted at and prioritise North Kensington estate residents. If we’ve space we let others get involved. We work with National partners on projects like our UK estate tours, which advocate and celebrate social housing.


Who is SPID?
A registered charity specialising in high quality community theatre on council estates, whose remit is to advance education by the promotion of the arts, citizenship and community development. We are not for profit which and have no shareholders. About half of our staff and participants are local, but we also have a National profile in terms of touring UK estates, getting estate residents on the news and securing rave reviews in papers like the Guardian. Both locally and Nationally, we advocate social housing.

How is SPID funded?
We multifund all our work in order to keep autonomy and have funding from trusts, the lottery, the government and donations.  The funding we’ve secured for the refurb was only possible because we’re a charity and would not have been available to other organisations like residents’ associations. It was granted on the basis of our strong track record working on and with north Kensington estates since 2005. Our running costs and turnover are low – we try to pay £12 an hour but often work as volunteers/ for minimum wage.

Does anyone from Kensal come to SPID?
Yes all our free activities (Far Far Away, Living History, Space Share, Community Hub ) have had and continue to have Kensal participants. Some activities have been and are currently run by them too and we fundraise in order to pay for this community work. Many of our members are also residents.

How do payments work?
We are committed to paying local residents and expert specialists. Some of these people are trustees because lived experience matters to our board.  Trustees can not be paid for board duties and we do not do this as it would be a conflict of interest but we can and do pay them for their community work. This is in line with the charity’s commission and our constitution.

Why does SPID have a lease?
SPID first asked for a lease from the council (who are the community rooms’ freeholders) when the TMO tried to take over and run the community rooms for profit – at which time we also registered the space as a community asset to stop it being sold off. In fact we’ve been trying to restore the space since 2005 and have invested around £80 000 in things like central heating and equipment to bring the flooded, neglected, mouldy rooms back into use- but without a long term lease, were not eligible for bigger funding. We finally secured a long term lease when we proved that in return we would bring in more than £1m funding to refurbish the community rooms.

We are:

Helena Thompson, Artistic Director

Helena’s ‘Open House’ play, won The List’s Edinburgh Festival Highlight Award and Time Out Critic’s Choice. For SPID she has also written Bluebeard’s Wives (ICA), The Garden (site specific/ Riverside Studios), Sixteen (site specific/ The Gate). She co created Childsplay (site specific/Riverside Studios) with Rachel Grunwald. Her feature films Affected and Happyslap, shot on Kensal House estate, have featured on BBC London and been screened by Channel 4 and in Hollywood. She was on the National Theatre’s attachment scheme. Her play ‘The Burning Times’ was commissioned by Radio 4.

Nnenna Samson-Abosi, Head of Youth Programmes and Outreach

Nnenna is the Head of Youth Programmes at SPID, she created the living heritage programmes and co-produced them with Mariana Sastre. Nnenna has continued to lead and write youth theatre and heritage youth projects for SPID – The Search for Freedom in your Mind, Far Far Away, Kensal Voices, Trellick Tales, Reimagining Goldfinger, Game Changer. She has also directed Face by Benjamin Zephaniah and directed, written and produced A Place for People, 23176,  Passersby and Team Spirit. She has consulted on the National Youth Theatre Playing Up Programmes and has work credits with the National Youth Theatre and Talawa Theatre. Nnenna has co-directed Hood for the National Theatre Connections Youth Festival. Nnenna has been assistant director for SPID’s Kensal Youth, Superhuman, The Garden and Remember the Name. She is passionate about empowering communities with theatre projects developed around shared spaces and experiences.


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