Who we are and what do we do...
They say from tiny acorns large oak trees grow and nothing better demonstrates that than Viva Arts and Community Group. Established in 1997 by Daniel Schumann, Viva began life as a small youth theatre run by a team of volunteers. Its first performance, ‘Bugsy Malone’, was played to an audience of 400. But Viva grew and grew with more children joining and grander, more ambitious productions and charity status followed. It now stages at least six major productions a year playing to audiences of up to 1000 per show, and since 2005 has taken shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – many of which have received five stars. Also in 2012 Viva were lucky enough to perform at the Playgroup Theatre in New York City! Yes the BIG APPLE!
In 2010 Viva received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – The MBE for Voluntary Groups. And the awards keep coming, Viva has picked up many National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards including ‘Best musical’ and ‘Best Overall Production’.
An adult theatre group was established in 2007 performing classics such as ‘Hobson’s Choice’, 'Pride and Prejudice', and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Awards for the Theatre Company include: Best Director at the Haverhill Drama Festival, the Adjudicators Award at Haverhill Festival and Best Drama at the National Operatic & Dramatic Association. Today it has hundreds of members who perform at least three productions a year. The Theatre Group over the last few years has been tackling different pieces of drama including 'Stepping Out', tap dancing and all, as well as 'Bouncers-The Viva Remix'. The group have now started taking on musicals too.
And Viva has branched out into other areas as well such as after school drama clubs and accredited arts training such as LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) and the Arts Award.
In 2008 it purchased its own premises, a converted Methodist Chapel in Churchgate Street, Soham, where it continued to run its successful charity shop that generates core funds for our work.
In 2018 Viva purchased Spencer Mill in Soham and embarked on a large capital project to restore this decaying building and create a permanent home for Viva and a centre for arts, cultural and community activity for the area.
Without a doubt, Viva’s roots are firmly planted in the local community and it continues to flourish.