chicester collegeA display of dance, drama and song from young performers who live with a range of learning disabilities was met with overwhelming praise, support and a standing ovation after their opening Chichester Festival Theatre performance.

Chichester College joined forces with Rolls Royce to launch its new performing arts training programme, called Theatre Inc., with a show [on 26 February] designed to highlight the education and supported work placement opportunities being provided for the 10-strong company of performers.

The group all live with conditions such as Down’s syndrome, autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Company member Ryan Wright-King said: “What we’re doing has a lot of meaning to us.

"It’s a way of changing people’s views about us and breaking down some barriers."

Theatre Inc. provides vocational performing arts training that is tailor made for students with learning disabilities, as well as developing their numeracy, literacy, ICT, communication and general life skills.

Following the success of the launch, Theatre Inc. will undertake a tour of work and a regional outreach programme before celebrating a full evening of work for the public at the University of Chichester on June 25.

The project is the first of its kind to receive recognition from the Government’s Educational Funding Agency, while the remaining finances are covered by the Friends of Theatre Inc. scheme.

To find out more information and to see pictures visit www.chichester.ac.uk