Realising a Dream

How do you go from being unable to cope with a full session of a theatre workshop, to performing a play (of Shakespeare’s own writing, no less) on stage, for three nights, in front of audiences exceeding 300 people?

Animate Theatre, that’s how. They told us: “Animate takes pride in giving everyone a voice where they haven’t always had one.” And the proof of that came when they got to telling us how they spent a £1,500 grant of our making.

Animate Theatre works with people with and without disabilities, teaching skills in theatre and performance. Based in Plymouth, they offer their members the chance to attend workshops and take part in showcases of this work. The purpose of these activities is not only to experience the joy of performing, but to help Animate’s participants to grow both in confidence and independence, helping them overcome not just the challenges facing them on stage, but more generally too, in everyday life.

The gentleman to whom the opening paragraph refers, is a member of Animate whose journey began with a few bumps.  Having autism meant that for several weeks, he would find the involvement too much and have to leave half way through sessions. By believing in him, continuing to provide a safe space, by talking to and working with him and his peers to find a solution, Animate helped him succeed - and they are keen to spread that message.

“We want to make a stand towards changing perceptions on what people with disabilities can achieve when given the understanding, patience and tools required to succeed.”

Having that two-way relationship is important to Animate, encouraging their members not only to take part in it’s activities, but also to assist in leading them is as important as seeking their input on future endeavours too.

“Our aim is to have a company that will be led by people with disabilities, breaking down all stereotypes and barriers!”

Late last year DCF were thrilled to hear that Animate Theatre had used their grant to put all their good work into practice through a run of performances of a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

20191218_AnimateTheatre (5)

They told us:

“Without the grant funding, Amimate would have struggled putting on a production of this scale. As a non-profit making company, our main aim is to always develop for the participants and volunteers sake. We would like to thank you for your kind grant.”


Clare Milne

This grant was made possible thanks to the Clare Milne Trust that is administered by DCF.

Find out more about Animate Theatre here.

Read more stories here.

Written by Jo Moulton
DCF Content Creator

February 2020