In Funding Stories, Reducing isolation & disadvantage

Project: Drama workshops for adults with learning difficulties
Grant: £3,000
Fund: HoB General

Friendly Bombs are a voluntary organisation providing theatre activities for learning disabled members of the community. They were recently awarded funding to carry out two drama workshops, each for 15 people with learning difficulties.

Each day the participants were provided with a structured selection of drama activities designed to develop their skills in theatre and performance. The aims of the course were to improve the participant’s ability to follow instructions, remember a story and use imagination, and to work with others.

The participants all suffer from social isolation in the community due to the difficulties that they encounter with access to services and the availability of appropriate services that are bespoke to their needs. The workshops have enabled the participants to develop confidence through the use of drama and they even performed to an invited audience on the final day of the course.

Case study

One of the participants is profoundly affected by autism and doesn’t engage very well with others. Prior to the course it was reported that he would always sit by himself and only ever engage in echolalia speech, mimicking TV commentary and that he didn’t speak or interact with any of his peers.

He was initially very reluctant to wear any of the drama costumes or to get involved in any activities with his peers.

However, by the end of the second day he was keen to put on a costume and work in a pair or three with other participants. He also showed patience with some of the other participants who were slower at processing. During the performance on the final day, he spoke Shakespeare lines clearly to our invited audience.