Where we’ve been
Riverside Performing Arts was first set up in 1996 under the title of Riverside School of Performing Arts (RSPA) by our founding director Caroline Wilkes. Based in Riverside Church, Birmingham, RSPA was the first church-based Performing Arts School in the UK to offer a one year full time training course to Christians aged 18-30, its aim being to use the performing arts to communicate the Gospel message and serve the community. The course offers expert drama training along with the opportunity to develop in areas such as singing and dance, and works widely within the local community through student performances and community arts projects. Since its foundation Riverside Performing Arts has performed for and worked with well over 500,000 people in the UK and abroad, and in 20 years has seen over 115 young people trained and equipped to use the arts in outreach and community work.
Raw Nerve Theatre Company was founded out of RPSA in 2007, in order that our graduated students along with other trained actors could continue to share the Christian faith and serve the community through the performing arts. Working with schools and community projects, the goal of the theatre company was to address relevant issues from a Christian perspective, supporting the young people in helping them to reach their potential.
In 2012, we rebranded bringing both the course and the theatre company under the umbrella name of Riverside Performing Arts. The RPA theatre company offers a second year internship to those from the RPA course who wish to continue developing their experience in community theatre. Our ethos remains the same: To use the performing arts to serve communities, communicate the Christian faith and to help people develop their potential.
What we believe
Mission statement: to use the performing arts to serve communities, communicate the Christian faith and to help people develop their potential.
Riverside Performing Arts puts Christ at the centre. We believe submission to God is the key to holiness, integrity and humility in our lives, and we value prayer as a vital foundation to our company. Following Christ’s example we seek to serve others in all aspects of our lives, blessing local communities and equipping individuals to reach their God given potential. We are part of the Great Commission and believe in sensitively communicating the Gospel to others in accessible, diverse, creative, challenging, imaginative and thought-provoking ways. We believe in a creative God and seek to reflect His nature by using the Performing Arts to inspire, raise issues, process ideas and engage people in discussion.
At Riverside Performing Arts we believe in professionalism, excellence, and doing the best we can with what God has provided us with. We value the greater productivity and creativity that a team can bring and believe teamwork is the best way to develop a person’s gifting and character. We seek to develop and encourage each person’s unique potential, and believe in helping individuals to discover and grow in their God given gifts. We encourage putting learning into practice, and we are continually listening to God in order to evaluate and improve what we do, as individuals and as an organisation.
Who we are
“RPA are life bringers. I love how they bring our students out of themselves and encourage them to give things a go, where they wouldn’t normally try. RPA are unique and our relationship with them is precious.”
– Drama Teacher, Swanshurst School, Birmingham
“Your leaders provided a wonderful experience for all our children. The message came home in an effective way.”
– Teacher, Triple Crown PRU
“RPA has increased my confidence so much. It has grown me in both my talents and my knowledge of God! I have learnt to trust God with everything. For all of this I am so thankful.”
– Katie Woods, RPA graduate 2012-2013
“An exciting and vibrant performance that carried important messages for young people today, that will help them to become socially conscious adults tomorrow.”
– Head Teacher, Alvechurch Middle School