Taking Flight Theatre need your help to fight hate crime

Taking Flight, one of Wales' leading integrated theatre groups, is looking for supporters to back a crucial funding application that will allow them to take their powerful anti-hate crime Forum Theatre on tour.

In 2012, Taking Flight and with Disability Wales piloted 'Real Human Being', a piece of Forum Theatre in schools in Bridgend in South Wales, which sought to tackle disability hate crime and increase awareness of issues of disability and access amongst year 9 pupils.

Forum Theatre allows young participants to watch a short piece of theatre, identify where they think problems arise, rewind the action and replay it, stopping and replacing certain characters as they see fit to attempt to improve the outcomes. It is incredibly powerful and in the case of 'Real Human Being', allowed year 9 pupils to practice how they might deal with negative behaviour and bullying, in a safe, theatre environment.

Taking Flight is now aiming to secure funding from the Aviva Community Fund, that will enable them to take 'Real Human Being' to schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf - an area where economic and geographic factors combine to isolate many disabled people.

You can help to make this possible by voting for Taking Flight at the Aviva Community Fund website.

Truly integrated theatre company

The funding application comes at a crucial time for Taking Flight. It was announced this week that they were unsuccessful in obtaining funding from the Arts Council of Wales to undertake their annual tour of inclusive theatre.

With this knowledge, Learning Disability Wales is asking our members and supporters to come together to support one of our favourite theatre companies, who employ disabled people year on year.

"In September we highlighted the work of Taking Flight Theatre Company in our article on arts and Learning Disability," said Zoe Richards, Young Person and Carers Manager at Learning Disability Wales. "Yesterday we heard the sad news that they would be unable to undertake their annual tour of inclusive theatre as they have been unsuccessful in their application to Arts Council of Wales.

"We at Learning Disability Wales are under no illusion that the work of Beth House and Elise Davison at Taking Flight is work that Wales should be proud of. On a yearly basis we know that Taking Flight are employing disabled actors as opposed to ticking a box stating they are an equal opportunity employer.

"As a company they are resilient and approach each barrier they face as a challenge. After repeatedly advertising for accessible digs for disabled actors in Wales and being unsuccessful they just went ahead and built their own.

"This is testament to their commitment and we believe that should be supported, funded and held aloft as beacons of good practice. Nearly 50% of actors that Taking Flight have employed have been disabled actors. This is an enviable statistic - even in the disability sector.

"While it is frustrating that Taking Flight have lost such crucial funding from the Arts Council of Wales, the Aviva Community Fund will go a long way to help people in Wales to benefit from Taking Flight's brilliant and important work.

"Please spend a few minutes of your time and vote for Taking Flight."

Voting closes on 21 November. You can vote at the for Taking Flight at the Aviva Community Fund website.