R’s story – Treading the Boards

Karl and his wife Penny have been fostering with Capstone Foster Care for over three years and have been looking after Robert for over a year.

Robert found himself in foster care as his parent were unable to take care of him.

Robert arrived at Karl and Penny’s home after school and everything was a little daunting on his first night in a new environment.

Karl and Penny showed Robert around the house , let him put away his clothes and belongings in his own time and let him settle in to his surroundings. That night they all enjoyed a Sunday roast when they discovered Robert really likes his food, and this helped put him at ease.

Before placing Robert with Karl and his family, the local authority had shared with Capstone Foster Care that Robert is very theatrically minded, he enjoys dancing, singing and would often perform in school plays.

Robert was quiet and reserved when he first arrived, but he soon came out of his shell thanks to the local theatre group, Mad Theatre, that Karl and his daughter attend.

Karl and his family share a passion for musical theatre and the placements team identified this as a key consideration during the matching process. It was felt strongly that this would help make Robert feel more comfortable and help with his transition in to a foster family.

The Mad Theatre is a charity that provides quality and affordable drama workshops for young people and adults and enables young people to gain experience and skills in all aspects of performance to increase their confidence, self-esteem and life skills.

Karl originally started to go to the theatre group due to his daughter’s love of musical theatre. His daughter had contacted the group about attending and Karl would drop her off regularly. One day after having a friendly chat with the director of the group, they asked if Karl would like to join as they needed more adult roles. Karl had never been involved with musical theatre before and after many chats with his daughter and the director he decided to take part. This led to Karl having a lead role within the next performance at the Lowry Theatre in Salford.

With gentle encouragement from Karl and his daughter, Robert began to attend the theatre group but as a spectator at first. He wasn’t yet confident to make the next step to taking part in group activities.

Karl continued to encourage him to attend and finally, as Karl and Penny had hoped, he decided to join in. His confidence began to build and has even starred in roles with Karl at the Lowry Theatre.

Capstone Foster Care also organised for Robert to take part in a local project, Nurture Psychology, which explored how music can promote resilience and well-being for cared for children/young people. Robert attended 16 x 1.5-hour sessions. Eight of the sessions involved working with musician facilitators to create new songs. The other eight sessions involved radio production sessions, which allowed Robert to learn new skills for presenting and producing his own radio show. They covered interview techniques, research, editing radio/ audio production.

This resulted in Robert and his peers presenting a radio show on NM FM 106.6 discussing how music helps to get them through their daily challenges as young people.

As well as becoming a local theatre and radio star he has made new friends, developed his confidence and is becoming more outgoing.

Robert has now settled in to family life with Karl and his family and has recently expressed an interest in Graphic and Web design to further express his creativity.

We have changed the names of the young person, the foster family and the birth family to protect their identities.

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