A THEATRE group for people with disabilities in Winchester recently visited a conference in Warsaw.

On Saturday March 4, Blue Apple’s artistic director Richard Conlon presented at the conference with two of the group's actors, Anna Brisbane and Katie Appleford and longstanding volunteer Chris Pearce. 

The conference 'Theatre as a road to inclusion' was hosted by Polish theatre Teatr 21 and was delivered as part of a wider European project called Be IN! (clusive), funded by Erasmus.

The project arises from a collaboration between three European theatre companies for actors with a learning disability and is co-funded by an Erasmus+ programme. 
Teatr 21 is a Polish theatre group founded 15 years ago for actors with Down syndrome and autism.

Blue Apple presented a talk entitled 'A revolution with a smile on its face' reflecting on the journey already taken in changing attitudes towards people with disabilities within performing arts in the UK and looking at what developments are still needed to make the performing arts truly inclusive.

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Anna Brisbane, who has been performing with Blue Apple since it started in 2005, said: “I enjoyed going to Warsaw very much and I especially enjoyed exploring the old town and going inside the Royal Castle of Warsaw. I enjoyed being a presenter at the conference and I think it is very important for performers to speak at conferences, especially in different countries because the more places you get to go to the better chance for Blue Apple to get its recognition that it truly deserves and helps to spread the message across to show what we can do at the Blue Apple Theatre Company.

“At the conference we learned how to use and hold and speak into a microphone whilst also holding a script at the same time and it was a good idea that we had decided to stand up for our presentation. It was also very interesting to find out that not all the theatre groups brought their members with them to attend some of the conference."