Samantha Renke (Actress and Disability Campaigner) recently worked professionally with Sara Cole, Artistic Director for Head2Head Theatre. The charity was delighted when, on learning about its work, Sam agreed to become a Patron and is already actively involved in its promotion and future activities.
Based in Surrey, the charity’s team of three professional actors tour specialist education schools throughout London and South East England with a wide range of multi-sensory shows, pantomimes and immersive experiences accessible and inclusive to everyone.
During holiday periods, it provides ‘whole family’ holiday activities – multi-sensory, walkabout theatre where children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities share the fun with their neurotypical siblings.
For two days a specialist education school is transformed. For this year’s new production of ‘Alice’s Tea Party’, a rabbit hole will suddenly appear in the playground; the Duchess’s kitchen may be found under a large tree (with pots, pans and wooden spoons hanging from its branches); and the school hall … well, of course, magically transformed into a strange tea party!
“It is totally interactive, family fun,” says Anni Rhodes-Steere, founder of the charity. “Although scripted, each show is flexible and the actors encourage their audiences to become fully immersed in the action. For example, one young wheelchair user, who was obviously a fan of Dr. Who and Harry Potter, recently played the role of ‘Tin Man’ as a visitor from Outer Space, complete with cloak and wand. He had such a good time that he returned for three more performances.”
Each walkabout show is full of fun songs, actions, signing and sensory moments, taken at a pace that allow audience members to enjoy, assimilate and comprehend at their own levels.
Lunchtime activities are provided, encouraging families to bring a picnic and have a rare opportunity to socialise and share experiences with each other.
Despite having no permanent base or salaried administrative staff, the charity has grown steadily over the years thanks to a dedicated team of professional actors and a fantastic band of volunteers.
The charity kick-started its 10th anniversary celebrations announcing plans to build its own multi-sensory theatre which will provide stimulating and immersive sensory experiences for audiences.
The charity is busy preparing for its Easter tour of South East England and full details may be found on its website: www.head2headtheatre.co.uk.