A Winchester theatre company is set for its first major tour.

Blue Apple Theatre is touring the south of England in May with its take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

It was founded in 2005 to showcase the talents of people with learning disabilities, and has toured schools and conferences around the south of England.

But this show is the first to tour mainstream theatres and take performers away overnight, and will be its first major production at Winchester’s Theatre Royal.

Jane Jessop, Blue Apple’s founding director, said: “This is hugely significant for Blue Apple Theatre and greatly encouraging for theatre by people with learning disabilities.

“We believe this is history in the making — come and meet Hamlet as he’s never been seen before!”

The group has also received Arts Council funding to help finance the tour, but are still looking for £5,000 more to help with costumes and the set.

Mrs Jessop added: “People may raise their eyebrows, but Shakespeare speaks to us all, and I believe we will all, cast and audiences, get something wonderful from this production.”

The group is also set to benefit from a £5,000 grant from the city council over the next three years, according to the council’s proposed budget.

It is one of the few in Winchester to see an increase in funding, up from £1,500 this year.

Mrs Jessop added: “We are really grateful to the councillors for recognising how important Blue Apple is to the individual lives of around 60 adults with learning disabilities.”

The money will be used to fund an artistic director and choreographer, and go towards providing an autumn programme.

The tour stops at the Theatre Royal on June 28, 29 and 30. To book tickets call 01962 840440 or visit blueappletheatre.com.