Beyond the theatres in which we present our performances, Pilot collaborates with community groups and other arts organisations to empower people to tell their own stories, support mental health and wellbeing through creativity, and inspire young people to achieve their potential.

Our Artistic Director, Esther. Richardson, talking to Director, Gitika Buttoo, in a sports hall. Esther is sat on a chair wearing a woolly blue hat and a blue winter coat. Gitika is sat on the floor wearing a black winter coat, blue jeans and white trainers.


Young people are active collaborators in the development and realisation of Pilot’s productions and projects, advising us on the stories we present, contributing to the decisions we make, and sharing their own experiences, such as through our writing project Northern Girls, in which young women created new plays about overcoming challenges in their lives.

A neatly and beautifully arranged mix of flowers in a silver pot, held by a woman wearing a blue jumper.

Creative Wellbeing

Across all of Pilot’s work, we aim to develop the confidence of young people, foster their self-expression, and encourage them to recognise their self-worth. For certain projects, we establish support groups for communities, such as young carers and people who identify as LGBTQ+, to improve their wellbeing through creative activities, and to forge meaningful social connections with each other.

Oliver O'Shea, our Associate Director, speaking to a room of women and children that are all gathered in the Pilot office for a workshop for sanctuary seekers.

Creative Connections with People Seeking Sanctuary

Working closely with local arts organisations and support groups in Pilot’s hometown of York, we welcome communities seeking sanctuary (refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced people) and invite them into cultural spaces in the city to take part in free creative activities and events, such as film screenings as part of our friendly Cinema Club.

A photo of a desk full of seaside postcards, colloured card, pens, and a worksheet that has different prompts for writing stories.

The Listening Project

Consulting with young people in York, this project seeks to understand: what barriers could be removed to increase the engagement of marginalised young people with the existing cultural provision in the city; whether other creative activities and opportunities would be more appealing to them; and how young people view the area in which they live.