Supporting big ideas
Over the past 60 years we’ve been constantly inspired by the ambitious ideas our students come up with and a decade ago we started thinking about what more we could do to support them.
This is how Click emerged. We could see the potential of crowdfunding so we came up with an award-winning platform which unlocked its power and developed a network of support around projects being developed by students, alumni and staff.
Within its first decade Click has supported more than 1,700 students to raise over half a million pounds for a total of 420 crowdfunding projects stretching across the performing arts, business start-ups, sport, cultural events and research.
The dreams of students, alumni and staff have been backed by £173,000 in match funding from Essex alumni and friends inspired by the projects.
“Over the years Click has been amazingly useful to graduates and students,” says Matthew Lloyd, senior lecturer at East 15 Acting School. He says Click helps prepare students to launch their professional careers. “Click is a brilliant stepping stone for them to build their funding base for their own creative work. It is also a source of advice and support.”
Many touring productions have been supported by Click at an early stage and Matthew points out that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival regularly has 40 shows with links to East 15, adding: "Of those plethora of shows many will have benefited from a Click campaign."
Taking Click to the stage
Click can support so many different types of projects, but it has proved particularly helpful to performing arts projects.
MFA student Stephan Nieman devised an ambitious plan to stage Paula Vogel’s play Indecent at JW3, the Jewish Community Centre in London, during his studies at East 15 Acting School.
He said: “Click was a very good resource that I was very happy to use. I don't think I'd have been able to do the show without it."
The play Indecent recounts the controversy surrounding the play God of Vengeance written by Sholem Asch which became a hit in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. It spans 40 years and travels across 12 locations including Warsaw, Broadway and Europe under the shadow of the Nazis.
The funding supported a cast of 10 who depicted dozens of characters and were supported by three actor-musicians. "I think I was very ambitious." jokes Stephan.
Stephan was determined to take on stereotypes and antisemitism through the play. "I found it very important to tell a Jewish story," he says.
And he was overwhelmed with the reaction from the audience - with many moved to tears. Stephan adds: "The goal of theatre is to tell a story which has an impact on people and I think we did that."
Providing a platform
Playwrighting PhD student Noah Pantano created one of the first queer horror scripts written for theatre while studying at the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies. Thanks to Click he premiered his show at a packed Lakeside Theatre at the Colchester Campus.
After the sell-out show he was invited to put it on as part of the Colchester Fringe Festival and now he has been invited to prepare three productions for the Brighton Fringe Festival.
He said: “The point of the script was to look at queer horror as a genre, and then show how to evolve it further, to remove the stereotypes and the bad cliches, and the way it portrays queer characters and ultimately look at it through an empathetic lens.
"I was amazed by the support I received through Click. Obviously friends and family made donations, but you also get surprised by who else supports you.
"I'm still floating in the air a little bit. This was probably one of the most essential steps in my early career - to begin to develop my work in the arts and to find people who I'm going to be working with, probably for the rest of my life. I cannot thank and praise Click enough."
So do you have a big idea? Click could help you turn it into a reality.
How you can make things click
Money donated by alumni and friends of the University to our Student Experience fund provides the match funding.
Click is seen as so innovative and successful that it has won a Heist Award, the highest recognition for education marketing, and received a Gold CASE Circle of Excellence Award
In the same year it was also shortlisted for the THE Award – Support for Students.
Now in the year of our 60th anniversary we’re extending the match funding available for projects from £250 to £500 from January 2024.