CREATING an environment which is inclusive to all young people – irrespective of any disabilities – is at the heart of the Prime Theatre.

And now, the team, based at the Wyvern Theatre, have the chance to broaden their work to those with hearing impediments thanks to a grant allowing them to buy specialist equipment.

For the last 30 years, the theatre organisation has been putting children and young people centre stage through their workshops and productions, allowing aspiring actors, writers, directors and technicians, aged from five to 25, to find their inner-creativity and flourish in their chosen theatrical passion.

“What we are trying to do is make our youth theatre more inclusive especially for young people,” said Prime Theatre’s Young Artist Carli Green.

“We don’t want people to shy away from getting involved and everyone should be able to get involved in theatre and feel like they can participate.

“Coming to the theatre gives young people confidence and it has opened up a lot of doors for people.”

Prime Theatre, previously Sixth Sense Theatre, was founded in 1986 and is Swindon’s only professional theatre company touring throughout the south west.

As well as touring, the group also extends their reach to the wider Swindon community by working with schools.

Drove Primary and Red Oaks Primary have a high proportion of deaf pupils and it is this collaborative approach with Prime Theatre that has led a number of children to join Youth Theatre through their grants


According to data by the National Deaf Children’s Society, Swindon currently has 372 children with hearing impairments, including 88 new referrals over the last academic year.

While a number of SEND coordinators at other schools expressed an interest in their students joining, there was apprehension about the lack of technology at Prime Theatre to support their students’ integration.

But now, thanks to a £3,210 grant from the Swindon Charity Ball, the team will be able to buy a receiver as well as a microphone to link to hearing aids of youngsters coming through to the company, allowing deaf participants to follow workshops without the constant need to lip-read.

It is hoped that the charity will be able to use this money to increase their capacity to have more deaf children and hearing impaired members across their work programme.

“It is the first time we have applied for any form of grant from the Charity Ball and it is brilliant had that local recognition and for people to see what work we are doing in the community,” Carli added.

“Fundraising is so important and we try our best with what we have especially in working with Drove Primary and Red Oaks Primary.

“For them to be able to do something long term that will benefit them is such a brilliant opportunity to be able to offer.

“Theatre is about allowing young people to experience something they might not necessarily know anything about.

“Being able to get involved in theatre and the arts is something that people want to be able to do but the fact we have been given this money will allow those with hearing impediments to access it more easily and will hopefully find their creativity and use it for the rest of their lives.”