Lewis loves musicals. So, we began by organising outings to see his favourite productions but mum told us what he really wanted was to be in an actual musical.
We looked around for a group that he could join, but we couldn’t find one that was accessible for young person with a learning disability, so we created one just for Lewis.
We started by introducing Lewis to Miss Annabel Sings – a singer who runs her own events and performance programmes. She started by performing his favourite songs in weekly classroom sessions with Lewis and his friends. It didn’t take long before the group wanted more than just to hear the songs – they wanted to take part and perform!
To ensure that everyone can work at their own pace, Miss Annabel Sings uses puppets and props. Each person takes turns to perform to the rest of the group and recently they have been working on story development using a single prop to spark a new character.
School staff were incredibly supportive in helping tailor activity for each pupil.
“These drama sessions are a platform for Lewis and others to express thoughts, ideas and emotions to peers – the feeling that you have something to offer, something valuable to say.”
Mr McFarlane, Class Teacher.
“Lewis adores his days with Miss Annabel Sings, on the day he knows she will be coming to school he yells and says ‘Yay Miss Annabel today!
Having someone that brings out his very creative and dramatic side in a safe environment means the world to us as a family.
Knowing that someone really gets him and encourages that element of his personality. It’s brought such a confidence to him.”
We set up a group for Lewis when he leaves school at the end of the year to remain involved in performance, and to allow friendships to be sustained beyond school. This work allows us to understand what works for him and others.
Nothing like this exists in Midlothian, so it’s an opportunity for us to work with other organisations in adult services to respond practically to what young people want.
This project is in collaboration with the Action Group and funded by the Year of the Young Person’s National Lottery Fund.