The Befrienders Group

Outreach work with a special needs group at The Hub

The song writing and devising project started as an outreach strand with young people with physical disabilities and then grew into a group of people with a wide range of special needs. At first, the programme was to deliver just songs with original lyrics and music but gradually a theme emerged from these songs, the theme of “a journey”. Danusia Iwaszko (Associate Artist playwright) led the workshops developing this theme into a performance piece. They have created their own characters and devised the story line together, so the group feels a sense of ownership of the piece. The music was written by Darnel, a member of the group and in March we staged a scratch performance of their devised play “The Rags of Time” to an invited audience. One of the most satisfying outcomes of the project is two-thirds of the performers were workshop participants.

Their group co-ordinator Karen Naylor said: “It has been the high-light of our year.”

Theatre Royal and The Hub and Befrienders want to develop both the workshops and the play for a more fully produced production in 2018. The hope is to give the group performance skills thus building confidence and a real company feel.

There is immense talent in this group in composing, devising and performing. Are hope is to be a catalyst in bringing that talent to the public.

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