Musical company

Winchester Blue Apple Theater Company Award Nomination

A THEATER company for people with learning disabilities has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Blue Apple Theater is a finalist in the Local Business of the Year category at the Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards.

Founded in 2005, Blue Apple is a theater company for people with learning disabilities providing theatre, dance, singing and film opportunities in Winchester, Andover and Southampton, as well as online and hybrid access in lessons. The company is Artist in Residence at the University of Winchester.

Sam Dace, who starred in Blue Apple’s recent production of macbeth, said, “Blue Apple is a theater company that empowers people like me to prove to other people that we can be more than just people with disabilities. It helps me to realize that I am not alone. We work together and we can do anything.

Blue Apple’s shortlist recognizes their innovative response to the challenges faced during the Covid pandemic. Blue Apple has transformed, embracing digital delivery to ensure isolated attendees can still participate in regular performing arts sessions and maintain social connections. As things returned to normal, it became clear that digital participation is expanding access for those who are vulnerable and nervous about leaving their homes, living outside of Hampshire or simply enjoying that way. to work, so Blue Apple has now moved some sessions online and is also offering digital hybrid access to in-person sessions.

Artistic director Richard Conlon said: “When the pandemic hit, it took a while for performing arts companies to take stock, pause, reflect on what they did and how they did it. did, and companies like ours that handled face-to-face in-person sessions and performances that were happening in theaters had pulled the rug out from under us and we just needed to stop for a moment and think ‘What are we inside?’ We are storytellers. Can this story reach an audience in another way? Yes he can.”

As regulations eased in the summer of 2021, Blue Apple again adjusted the performance model, this time to Frankensteincombining a small live theater cast of socially distant artists with pre-recorded scenes from a larger cast from an outdoor location, all brought together in the theater and via digital live streaming giving audiences the choice of where he accessed the performance.

Blue Apple is now on a path of managed growth and continues to expand its partnerships with theater companies, locally and regionally in the UK and also overseas, most recently with similar organizations in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Professor Sarah Greer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: “Congratulations to the Blue Apple Theater on being shortlisted for this prestigious award. It is a beacon of excellence and well deserves this national recognition. We are very proud to have Blue Apple Theater as our artist-in-residence at the University, based on campus and at the heart of our community. We benefit so much from our partnership with them.

“Blue Apple has a way of developing and nurturing the people we care about at the University. They work with performers like we do with our students, to empower them and bring out their confidence to thrive and to succeed.