HATE crime has been exposed in a new series of mask and mime performances by a company of disabled actors, after they received a £10,000 lottery grant to put the show together.

Partners Theatre Company, which has operated out of the Wyvern Theatre for more than 20 years, began its run of shows on home turf with a 15-minute show in front of an invited audience.

Standing Out, was inspired by a performance seen by the group at Bradon Forest School, where Worcester-based Vamos Theatre put on a mask show.

Once their bid for money from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All was approved, planning went into devising their own show and inviting Vamos to the Wyvern to collaborate and learn more closely.

“The project is actually about exploring ideas around difference and how attitudes to difference can cause problems socially and in the workplace,” said Yvonne Chamberlain, operations manager at Reach Inclusive Arts, which support Partners.

“The way Vamos used masks really captured the group’s imagination when they saw it.

“One of our actors, Joe Dickson, who is hearing impaired was quite taken with it.

“The masks and the way their actors moved were really something he wanted to get involved in.”

There are performances at DHL Iceland distribution centre in Penzance Drive and AFL Telecommunications in Newcombe Drive to come, on Friday and Monday respectively.

Partners had their chance to get one run-through under their belts at The Big Hat cabaret show at Steam last Friday.

The run-through would appear to have worked too, with an array of positive feedback according to Yvonne.

“We had invited the audience, but it went tremendously,” she said.

“The actors got a marvellous response.

“They have been working on this show for some months.

“It’s been a real learning curve for them, using masks and learning how to use mime skills.

“They were really pleased with the response.

“They have been making excellent progress in terms of skill development. It meant a lot to them.”

One member of the Wyvern audience said: “It was a great performance by Partners Theatre Company, dealing with some quite difficult issues.

“It was good to see this group tackle a challenging subject with sensitivity – and very clear that a lot of hard work and effort had gone into the performance by all involved.”