RPA Ethos – specialists in nurturing, expression and empowerment 

Revolution Performing Arts Ltd 

Originally set up as Drama Babes (drama for toddlers and preschoolers) in September 2007 and in August 2008 due to exceptional demand, Fiona Da Silva-Adams expanded into Performing Arts for primary school age children.  The emphasis is on fun, confidence building, boosting self esteem and developing individual potential! All elements of the sessions are child centered and there is no pressure to perform, just to relax, enjoy and have a good time. RPA was the first performing arts company to bring performing arts after school clubs into schools in the Swindon area. 

Want to go deeper?  Here is a little bit more… 

RPA run twilight performing arts sessions for approx 400 young people aged 4 -18 years from a diverse range of socio economic backgrounds. RPA provides a haven for young people to express themselves and thrive through accepting their individuality. Establishing a fun environment, to build their confidence, enhance their self esteem and physical and emotional wellbeing, RPA develops young people’s individual artistic potential with a fully trauma informed, child centred approach. RPA produces five public shows a year with approx. 60 – 400 performers each, with a total audience reach of approx 1,720 people from across the community. Each performance produces approx. 20 pieces of professionally produced work. Young people that benefit from RPA range from those who wish to feel included, respected and celebrated to those from abused and traumatised backgrounds to those on the autistic spectrum. RPA provide places free of charge to any young person affected by domestic abuse; work with “Looked After Children” and provide a family support morning to connect autistic families and to experience the arts. RPA collaborates with the following partners to allow as many young people as possible to access performing arts: NHS Mental Health Inpatient Unit; National Literacy Trust – Swindon Stories (Ambassadors); Swindon Central Library; Swindon Festival of Arts & Literature; Princes Trust; Swindon Borough Council Afghan Relocations & Assistance policy (ARAP); Swindon Borough Council Healthy Activities & Food Programme (HAF); Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SDASS) (Ambassadors); Schools (including ten of those included in the government’s levelling up campaign who have missed out on extra investment and cultural activity); Social Workers; Aiming High; Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS); Children and Adults Mental Health Service (CAMHS); Education Other Than At School (EOTAS); and Young Carers.  

And a little bit more?  Here’s our track record in access and excellence… 

RPA believes in progression without examination and develops young people’s individual artistic potential with a fully trauma informed, child centred approach where the young people take the lead in their creative journey. Without any pressure to perform, just to relax, absorb the arts and have a good time, young people flourish and thrive in RPA’s nurturing approach. Sessions delivered during the pandemic are now available free of charge to all on the RPA YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAqoCDNhxPhZWFPuZJFBU_A 

RPA is a progressive, unique company that crosses boundaries and attracts a wide range and diverse group of young people from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Young people are drawn together to express themselves safely in a creative way which is uniquely celebrated, especially on an individual basis. For many young people, RPA, is the one place they can express themselves and not be ridiculed. They feel safe to express themselves and more so, celebrated.  

Many young people stay with RPA, become leaders, and are now employed by RPA. Some have gone on to run their own creative businesses. The young people develop their skills and talents, continuing their creative journey and passing on their experience to younger people. Many young people come and enjoy a taste for a future in the creative industries by attending work experience with RPA.  

Delivered outside of school hours, RPA engage young people giving them a sense of belonging and hope, confidence, and empowerment. When young people are welcomed into the groups it is the other young people who describe our ethos of confidence, self-esteem, and empowerment not the leaders. The young people themselves are ambassadors for our creativity and culture and further take that forward into the future.  

During the pandemic, RPA & Rapport contributed to Arts Council England’s –  Let’s Create Programme by continuing the professional development of workshop leaders; working with emerging artists; diversifying the delivery of creative sessions and connecting young people who would otherwise feel isolated, anxious, and excluded. RPA supported emerging artists by asking them to deliver paid work, through the delivery of online performing arts sessions. This dynamic innovative work was continually measured for its artistic quality through the uptake of young people’s engagement and responses in the sessions. Creative works were also delivered by bringing individual performance pieces together in separate locations to create one performance piece with the further potential to engage more young people in creative activities. The pandemic has shown that mental health is a high priority issue for young people. Previously well adjusted, confident young people have struggled with isolation and the pressures of social media and isolated learning. Parents are struggling with how to re-engage their young people within society as they become disconnected and develop a fear of re-engagement and social interaction. Young people have been hugely affected by the increase in domestic abuse where fear is becoming the norm.  

RPA received funding from Arts Council England for an anti bullying film project in collaboration with Cre8 Studios in Swindon. Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SDASS) have been successful in receiving funding from Wiltshire Community Foundation for the Queens’s Platinum Jubilee. RPA was named as the ACE funded arts partner to deliver the work for young people at the Refuge. RPA was successful in being awarded 3 recent grant awards from Arts Council England and was successful in being awarded funding from The National Lottery to deliver a film to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  

RPA have produced works, all inspired and led by the young people. RPA produced a live stream, Acts of Kindness, to show the work created by young people during the COVID-19 pandemic in association with OT House, a local emerging artist. The Terrible Infants performance was performed, designed, stage managed and technically delivered by the young people themselves under the direction of emerging artists, Daniel Wyatt, Jim Stretton, Mollie Tuttle and under the professional production guidance of acclaimed director, Laura Barnes. Dear Child, Everybody, Be Your Unique, Who Am I?, Our Future & Winter Wonderland were all, again, public performances led and created by the young people themselves.  

RPA believe that young people should always have access to high quality, non-elitist arts provision and achieve excellence through process and engagement not ego centric product. To ensure this takes place RPA recruit experienced directors, arts facilitators and production crew with a similar ethos and ensure that work is delivered at professional public theatres to ensure young people receive the highest quality arts experience.  

Audiences that engage with RPA performances are families who come from low socio-economic backgrounds (from areas in Swindon mentioned in the Government’s levelling up programme). Young people range from but not exclusively, those who have been abused, traumatised; on the autistic spectrum; in care; affected by domestic abuse; poor mental health; gender dysphoria; refugees and those experiencing food poverty.  

RPA is a  well run female led organisation. The leadership team and workforce have significant lived in experience of abuse, domestic abuse, mental health issues and autism. These experiences provide a connection and experience that all staff can call upon to help deliver a relatable arts experience for all audiences and engaged participants.  

RPA have built lasting relationships with partner organisations to ensure as many young people as possible have access to the arts in the Swindon area. Young people who are neurodiverse or have disabilities hidden or otherwise have full access to the arts within RPA and it is made accessible whether they require physical access to all our venues or emotional support to ensure they can access the arts or understanding young people’s sensory needs to ensure there is no block to access for all. Young people referred to us by Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SDASS) attend all performing arts sessions free of charge as RPA know the profound positive effect the arts can have in the process of recovery from the effect of trauma.  

RPA’s work is reviewed regularly in the media on Google & Facebook. Open and honest feedback is requested after every performance and event to enable RPA to continually improve. RPA is also a Domestic Abuse Corporate Ambassador and Laura, Fi & Jade are both Literacy Champions.  

Fiona (Fi) Da Silva-Adams & Team 

Fi set up Drama Babes as, in 2007, there was no provision for drama for toddlers in the Swindon area. Her son, Zavier, inspired her to set up Drama Babes as they used to “fly off on a magic cupboard to wonderful imaginary places” and Fi wanted to share this magic with other parents. Fi ensures all her team are well trained in the RPA ethos, are qualified and/or have professional performance experience, are DBS checked, receive appropriate safeguarding & Prevent training and are paediatric first aid trained.  

Policies & Insurance: 

For your reassurance, Revolution Performing Arts has Public Liability Insurance (up to £10 million), photo ID and ‘right to work’ information on all our leaders.  Please click here for our full range of policies. Risk assessments are taken at every school and venue. 

What We Do 

The sessions comprise of dancing, singing and drama.  The young people and the leader choose two songs (one to dance to and one to sing to).  This is normally led by the children.  The teacher only has to assess the age appropriateness of the songs.  These songs are performed together as one big group.  All children also have the opportunity to perform solos or perform with their friends if they choose to, using our professional microphones and amplifiers. 

Some weeks we concentrate on singing more, sometimes dancing, sometimes drama, depending on where our performers within the session take us. 

Our sessions normally culminate in a performance in front of the school (normally attached to a school assembly), where the children, only if they choose to, can show their work in front of their peers.  Also parents are normally given the opportunity to see the last 15 minutes of the last session of every 12 weeks (Christmas, Easter and Summer), to support their children. 

We perform up to three times a year at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon Arts Centre and sometimes further afield. Performing gives young people a fantastic opportunity to perform to up to 620 of their family and friends.  Performances are fun, without pressure, with a community feel and the children get to meet children from other schools.  Invariably, they are pleasantly surprised to see their friends from other groups who also attend Revolution Performing Arts! 

Confidence Building…without pressure! 

Our passion is bringing out children’s confidence and helping them little by little every week by encouraging them and allowing them to be themselves and enjoy the experience of performing arts without any pressure.  I have been told by school teachers that children have come to us so painfully shy that they were not even willing to answer their names in class.  Sometimes, within a couple of terms with RPA, they were singing solos in front of the school!  I was astounded and truly humbled when I heard this feedback. 

Cost of Sessions: 

Fees vary from venue to venue depending on length of term and room hire costs, from £26.05 – £35.87 per month. Payments are all administered electronically via our GoCardless direct debit mandate system and evenly spread throughout the year, payable on a monthly basis.  

Enrolment: 

If you wish to give RPA  a try, click on enrol and sign up your child for a free trial to  try out at one of our gorgeous after school clubs or open twilight sessions.  Your child will be welcomed like a family member and nurtured and empowered to be the fabulous person they are! 

Ready to get involved?

All elements of the sessions are child centered and there is no pressure to perform,
just to relax, enjoy and have a good time.