Arts Council England award funding for new youth theatre sensory show ‘The Nightingale’

Young Learning-Disabled artists to take centre stage in Red Rose Chain’s new theatre production

Red Rose Chain, has been awarded £24,586 from Arts Council England for THE NIGHTINGALE, a new adaption of Hans Christian Anderson’s story that will be devised and performed by young people with learning disabilities.


THE NIGHTINGALE will provide 14 members of Red Rose Chain’s Gold Chainers Youth Theatre, with an important opportunity to develop their professional practice, all supported by established professional artists.

The Gold Chainer’s is one of Red Rose Chain’s free at source and open access community groups engaging young people with a learning disability or additional needs. They meet for weekly workshops and have created exciting new work which has recently had overwhelming responses at theatre and film festivals.

Led by Artistic Director Joanna Carrick, this new adaption will include a range of collaborative elements, including ensemble movement, clowning, speaking and singing, as well as sensory theatre. The completed production will then be performed for audiences with Learning Disabilities (LD) and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD).

 “The Nightingale is one of my favourite ever projects. Arts Council England support is enabling us to take our amazing young people to the next level and develop their talents in a professional environment. They need to be seen to be believed.”  – Joanna Carrick, Artistic Director

“My favourite thing about the Gold Chainers is that it makes me  feel  happy,  I  make  new  friends  and  I  just  have  fun. Since  starting  here,  everything  has  changed.  I feel  much  more  confident  and  it’s  made  me  want  to  get  a  job in theatre in the future. I think Red Rose Chain is fabulous!” – Matthew, Gold Chainers



The project has been funded by Arts Council England, which uses public funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants. The programme is catered for young people with additional needs to engage with a high-quality arts programme and perform at a professional level. It is hoped that this project will challenge the barriers for disabled young people to access the arts and preconceptions of what they can achieve.


“Opportunity and inclusivity are both fundamental to Let’s Create, the Arts Council’s vision for arts, culture and creativity in England for 2020-30. These are brilliantly embodied by Red Rose Chain and we’re proud to invest in their work to break down barriers and transform perceptions of what young disabled artists can and do achieve.”  – Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England


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