Blue Apple Theatre is a creative company that supports performers with learning disabilities to develop theatre, dance, singing and film productions from its base in Winchester. Through producing high quality creative material, it aims to challenge prejudice and transform the lives of people with a learning disability.

The not-for-profit was awarded £29,850 from the Including Communities Fund and NHS Health & Wellbeing Flow-Through Fund in 2022 to develop a 3-year pilot of outreach activities to help provide that crucial first step into the performing arts for people with learning disabilities.

Daisy Robinson Development Lead said: “Blue Apple is committed to the development of integrated and progressive opportunities within the arts for people with learning disabilities to raise the ceiling of expectation and advocate for the development of a more inclusive, accessible and equal society. The increase in confidence gained through stage performances has helped Blue Apple participants to enhance their social, personal and artistic skills and achieve public recognition for their talents.”

Staging two highly popular shows each year in Winchester and touring performances across the south of England, Blue Apple not only provides a range of theatrical opportunities for its participants, but also challenges common perceptions and informs the wider public debate. Now in its 17th year, the charity is recognised as one of the foremost theatre groups in the UK for people with learning disabilities and, in 2022, won three prestigious awards including the South Coast Tech Awards for Digital Transformation of the Year.

Daisy continues: “The success of Blue Apple’s activities has seen demand rise towards the creation of a countywide programme. This funding allows us to develop new opportunities across Hampshire, by supporting the engagement, development, and establishment of new outreach activities to pilot groups in new areas. We are particularly keen to develop work in areas of economic deprivation including Southampton and Portsmouth.”

Kym Nash, Blue Apple Main performer said: “I can’t go without Blue Apple, it has become a huge part of my mental health and my life.”