Just two days before The Big Give Christmas Challenge begins, Creative Learning Manager Liz Leck talks about the background behind presenting our first Relaxed Performance for children with learning disabilities.
For almost 7 years, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Creative Learning department has been working closely with many special schools in Birmingham, in conjunction with Open Theatre, to deliver long term projects for young people with learning disabilities. The aim being to develop their self-esteem, build their self-confidence and help prepare them for the transition into the adult world. Many of these young people have different learning disabilities and the majority are considered to be on the autistic spectrum.
Over this time, the importance of this work for the theatre has grown, and knowledge and expertise has been built up resulting in Birmingham Hippodrome becoming known locally as a venue with a long term commitment to and expertise in working with young people with learning disabilities. In 2012, Richard Hayhow of Open Theatre, established our first youth theatre, One of A Kind, consisting of the young people from the schools and colleges he has worked with over the years. The company meets weekly at the Hippodrome to develop their theatre skills and explore their own identities with the aim of creating theatre works to be shared with wider audiences. This core work was the main determining factor for the Hippodrome to programme its first relaxed performance, something we consider is a natural progression from the work under way at the Hippodrome.
Birmingham Hippodrome is committed to making theatre as accessible as possible for everyone and we can’t wait to put the final preparations in place ready for the performance in January. The Big Give Christmas Challenge is an online fundraising platform which will directly support the Relaxed Performance. All donations made from 10am on Thu 5, Fri 6 or Sat 7 Dec will be doubled at no extra cost to you. If you wish to help support this vital area of our work please visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com/biggive during the challenge period. Thank you for your support.