Business and Economy

Social entrepreneurs encouraged to sign up to development courses

Theatre Obscura

Posted on: 30 August 2018

A Devon-based social entrepreneur is encouraging other social enterprises to sign up to courses to help their development.

Drama therapy graduate Amerie Rose and co-Director Samantha Wraith, founded Encounter Theatre and Therapy in Exeter in 2014, having received support to start their social enterprise as they looked to combine a love of the arts and helping others.

Encounter TT, recently re-named Theatre Obscura, is among those to have received support from The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington and The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme.

Amerie enrolled in 2016 in the start-up programme after friends who had completed the course, recommended it to her.

She said: “I can wholeheartedly recommend applying for the School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington programmes. The team were very supportive right from the start and the feedback at the interview was incredibly useful. The process helped us to put our project ideas into context and focus our intentions for the coming year. Whether successful of not, an opportunity like this is one not to be missed.”

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington is one of six delivery partners offering a minimum of 12 hours tailored support to social enterprises in Somerset and Devon through the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme. The European Regional Development funded programme, which is supported by both Devon and Somerset County Councils, offers social enterprises in Somerset and Devon 12 hours of free business supported tailored to their needs.

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington is currently recruiting social entrepreneurs for:

• Devon and Somerset Social Entrepreneurs Development Programme, for established social enterprises looking to grow. For more information and to download the application form visit: Deadline for applications is Sunday 9 September.

Theatre Obscura, which is a Core Associate of Exeter Phoenix, uses theatre, performance art and dramatherapy to empower people to face challenges together and creatively explore diversity.

Amerie said: “Initially our journey was understanding that we were social entrepreneurs. We knew we wanted to start up a company. We knew we wanted to use our theatre work for social good.

“We use drama theatre and therapy to explore personal and community issues through creative means. We deliver community arts projects, drama therapy and training, primarily in Exeter and across Devon.

“We have been supported by Exeter-based companies Corkscrew Ltd and McQueenie Mulholland to take a good hard look at our company identity and brand. There is another brilliant Devon based company with a similar name so we decided it was time for a change. We chose the name Theatre Obscura, and we have finally got a proper company logo and have upgraded our online presence with a new website and social media handles.”

Samantha Haydock, Lead Learning Manager at School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington, said: “SSE Dartington is hugely proud to have been a part of the journey for Amerie Rose and Theatre Obscura. Amerie took part in our year-long start up programme in Plymouth along with 19 other social entrepreneurs from around the region. It was amazing to see the business relationships and network grow within the cohort of which Amerie played a crucial part. It was also inspiring to see Amerie grow in confidence and make brave, bold decisions for her business that has continued to develop and become the success it is today.”

For more information about the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme and to register, visit

European Regional Development Fund logo

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving up to £1,053,610 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

For more information visit

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