Gold medal-winning wheelchair basketball player and popular TV presenter Ade Adepitan MBE is to be made a patron of Blue Sky Actors, Stratford Circus Arts Centre’s resident theatre company for adults with learning disabilities.
About Blue Sky Actors
Blue Sky Actors, which is run in partnership with Face Front Inclusive Theatre and offers participants support to develop their performing and employability skills, has been devising professional shows since 2011.
The ensemble has been producing two professional shows a year. It also offers participants support to develop their employability skills, whether as a performer or in other areas of work.
Ade’s older sister Omoyile, who has Down’s Syndrome, is also a long-standing member of the disability theatre group.
Ade Adepitan’s Paralympic and television career
After moving from Lagos to the London borough of Newham aged three, Ade Adepitan developed a passion for wheelchair basketball. He has since gone on to win a bronze and gold medal at the Summer Paralympics and Paralympic World Cup respectively.
A familiar face on screen, Ade fronted Channel 4’s London 2012 Paralympics coverage and has led numerous documentaries for the BBC.
About Stratford Circus Art Centre
Blue Sky Actors forms part of a varied programme of creative learning opportunities hosted by Stratford Circus Arts Centre, aimed at ensuring access to great cultural experiences for all.
The centre is also home to a resident choir and hosts regular activities and art sessions for older adults. It also fundraises to offer low or no-cost tickets for performances to targeted community groups and organisations.
Ade Adepitan’s announcement also comes at a time when the venue’s latest season features a number of shows accessible to deaf and disabled audiences.
As part of the venue’s LGBT History Month Takeover ParaPride, the centre will present the largest disabled queer performance ever produced in the UK.
Alongside it, the show My Mother Said I Never Should features a cast of one hearing and three deaf actors, using spoken English and British Sign Language. Moreover, Jamboree and To the Moon and Back are both made for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Ade Adepitan said, “I’m extremely pleased to be the first patron of Blue Sky Actors, based at Stratford Circus Arts Centre. My sister is a much-loved and long-standing member of the group having joined in 2012; our mum is a big fan of their work and has seen every show!
The group has grown in popularity with thirty members and a long waiting list. In recent years their shows have always sold out, which just goes to show the importance of theatre.
I’m very pleased to hear that the group works in partnership with Face Front Inclusive Theatre and has recently had a continuation of funding from City Bridge Trust and new funding from Foyle’s Foundation.”
He added: “Unfortunately, I’m away for their Radio Blu project in April but looking forward to their annual panto – oh yes I am!”
By Emma Purcell
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