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Combating gloom in ‘Britain’s unhappiest town’

Thurrock residents prove naysayers wrong by getting involved in creative activities at the ROH High House Production Park.

By Sonali Hindmarch (Former Content Producer (Learning))

2 August 2012 at 10.24am | Comment on this article

According to recent government research, Thurrock in Essex is the unhappiest town in the country. The Office for National Statistics questioned people across the country to find out how happiness levels vary and Thurrock was bottom of the list.

But local resident involved in activities at ROH’s High House Production Park in Thurrock are helping to prove that the creative arts can actually help turn that around. Thurrock resident, Margaret Nathan, tells us, “[Participating in] things like the Thurrock Community Chorus can raise levels of satisfaction – when the whole of Tilbury Cruise Terminal was filled with people singing, nobody was unhappy.” Fellow resident, June Christine Bull, agrees that activities and events that involve the whole community make people happier. “When the Olympic torch went through our town centre, it brought everyone together. All local organizations and groups had a good time,” she said.

Researchers would agree with Margaret and June’s theory. George MacKerron, from the London School of Economics, has been doing a study into what makes us content and has found that when people engage in the arts and theatre, they feel happier. MacKerron’s study is being done via a mobile phone app and, he told The Arts Journal, “Someone at the theatre is around six points [out of 100] happier than someone who isn’t.”

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the arts in ROH Thurrock as it runs events all year round, often with local schools and community groups. Recently, people attending High House Production Park were able to pitch in to help build props for a Royal Opera House production Hot House. And, in August, people of all ages are welcome to join the Thurrock team for a series of creative workshops. These are open to anyone interested in film-making, audio production or theatrical stagecraft.

Further activities will be announced soon so keep an eye out – there's a real benefit to getting involved at ROH Thurrock!

For more information on the Thurrock Community Chorus or to get involved in Royal Opera House activities in Thurrock, email

By Sonali Hindmarch (Former Content Producer (Learning))

2 August 2012 at 10.24am

This article has been categorised Learning, Off stage and tagged activities, arts, community, Essex, happiness index, High House Production Park, learning, Office for National Statistics, ROH, Thurrock

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