A THEATRE company for disabled actors has been given £45,000 to help it continue its good work.
Members of the award-winning Full Body and The Voice, which is based at Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre, are celebrating receiving the cash.
The two-year grant was awarded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation through its community programme and will go towards the group’s salaries and overheads.
The money will also allow the group to deliver a new actor training programme and go out into the community.
The company was established 10 years ago and works with and develops the talents of actors with learning disabilities.
It delivers productions for its cast of actors and tours mainstream theatres around Britain.
It took a recent production of Pinocchio around the country, premiering at York’s Theatre Royal before returning to the LBT and then on to the West Midlands.
Alongside the adult company more than 60 young people with learning disabilities take part in its weekly youth theatre sessions.
As well as entertaining the group delivers training contracts to corporate organisations.
Its actors have helped more than 300 South Yorkshire police officers in communications techniques, which have helped officers in interviewing vulnerable witnesses and developing a greater understanding of requirements when dealing with people with learning disabilities.
The grant will allow the company to expand its capacity and meet demand for its projects, creating opportunities for disabled people in Yorkshire.
The theatre company is advertising for an acting tutor and outreach worker, with the aim of training 15 new actors. Maggie McEwan, its managing director, said: “We are very proud of what the company has achieved. Our actors successfully tour mainstream theatre venues in the UK and abroad, as well as picking up some television work.
“The Lloyds TSB Foundation cash means we can be even more ambitious and provide further opportunities for young people with learning disabilities in the theatrical profession.”
The Lloyds TSB Foundation supports groups that help disadvantaged people to play a fuller role in the community.
Anne Dawson, its head of grant- making for the North, said: “This theatre group is doing really innovative work and we are delighted to support them as they expand and reach out to new communities in Yorkshire.”
Ian McMillan, patron of the theatre group, is launching his autobiography on stage at the LBT on November 17, with all proceeds from the evening going to the company.
To find out more about this event or the company’s next production contact Maggie on 01484 484441 or visit the website www.fullbody.org.uk
The company is also looking for new volunteers to help with future projects.