The show must go on.
A new home-based arts activities is bringing smiles in difficult times.
Online dance, drama and singing activities are helping to connect some of Hampshire’s most vulnerable people during lockdown – thanks to Blue Apple theatre company in Winchester.
The charity which aims to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities through performing arts, has moved all its Hampshire classes online to ensure its members still feel connected whilst in isolation.
Weekly drama and dance classes are now being held via Zoom, as well as extra content such as quizzes and craft activities being put on Blue Apple’s website.
Ros Francis, mum of Katy who has Down’s Syndrome, said her daughter was enjoying the virtual singing class: “Katy and I had great fun singing with the teacher, she was definitely cut out to be a TV presenter!”
And Johanna Tyler, mum to Street Dance and Special Assignments Company (SAC) member Ben, said: “I have not heard Ben so animated since this tricky time began. It was such a highlight and a massive boost to everyone’s morale.
“Dance teacher Amanda was brilliant and they were all having such a wonderful happy and social time. Ben was really engaged with Simon and SAC, lots of laughter and again thoroughly loving it. Thank you all so very much, a brilliant plan, lots of work but worth every second!”
And Blue Apple performer James Elsworthy took part in a digital Easter picnic this week, joining staff, volunteers and other Blue Apple members on Zoom for a catch up and a disco. He said: “I really enjoyed it. I want to do it again next week, it was really fun!”
Classes have been planned for the next term and Blue Apple are making plans to ensure everyone has access to the groups, especially those who may not have streaming technology.
General manager Simon Morris said: “We believe that the performing arts will be more important now than ever in helping our performers in Hampshire stay connected.
“Studies have shown that people with learning disabilities can feel socially isolated in normal times and our groups help bring together people who make lasting friendships, which in turn boost their confidence and feelings of self-worth. So, it’s really important we continue our work in this new online format – we’re thrilled to hear our performers are enjoying the sessions.
“Over the coming weeks we will continue to evaluate how best to bring our members together and ensure they keep smiling.”
See http://blueappletheatre.com/all-groups. To join the live Zoom sessions each week, members will be sent an email invite.
Any Hampshire resident who wants to become a new Blue Apple member and join an existing group can contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 01962 827352 and leaving a message.
News from The Hampshire Chronicle