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 two major productions a year playing to audiences of up to 1000 and for the past ten years has taken shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – many of which have received five stars. In 2010 Viva received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – The MBE for Voluntary Groups. And the awards keep coming, in 2013 Viva came away with ‘Best musical’ and ‘Best overall production’ categories in the annual National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards for ‘The Sound of Music’ production at Ely Cathedral and again for both awards for 'The Phantom of the Opera' performed at The Brook, Soham.
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 2013, Adjudicators Award at Haverhill Festival 2013 and Best Drama at the National Operatic & Dramatic Association in 2011. Today it has 30 members who perform at least two 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 and the awards are building up with 'Abigail's Party', performed in June 2015, being awarded Best Play, at the annual National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards.
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. Without a doubt, Viva’s roots are firmly planted in the local community and it continues to flourish.