Head2Head Theatre focuses on stimulating interest in the arts throughout the special needs’ community, with their work aimed largely at young people with a diverse range of special educational needs.
We ask Anni Rhodes-Steere, the charity’s founder in 2006, and volunteer CEO, just how they do this.
We are passionate about what we do in providing multi-sensory theatre for the special needs’ community that is both accessible and fun, and that caters for a wide range and varied levels of disabilities, including neurodevelopmental disorders, visual and hearing impairments and complex health needs. While many theatres now offer ‘relaxed performances’ there are few that fully cater for the needs of children with disabilities. Our performances are delivered in fully accessible venues at an affordable price, making it more feasible for a family to attend together.
We reach over 3,000 children with disabilities and over 2,000 family members and carers each year. The feedback from parents and professionals demonstrates that we are making a difference and meeting a local need.
Our services offer something unique to the special needs’ community including multi-sensory pantomimes that the whole family can enjoy as a traditional seasonal entertainment. We also provide half-day holiday activities with a multi-sensory interactive, a walkabout show, plus lunchtime sessions that give essential networking opportunities to help sustain family cohesion.
We tour special schools with multi-sensory shows, immersive experiences and workshops. The Children’s Trust said: “We love having Head2Head Theatre here. They always brighten our days. The whole performance is perfect and well-aimed at the children and young people. They consider all abilities and really tailor the show to suit the needs of the audience. We always see some fantastic reactions and the room is filled with smiles and laughter throughout.”
We run a Student Volunteer Programme with the aim of offering disabled young people opportunities to improve their drama and life skills and, at the same time, socialise in a safe and caring environment. One young adult has been so successful that she now acts as Programme Assistant, giving guidance and reassurance to other disabled volunteer actors. Through the scheme she has become a well-integrated member of society, and of our acting team. Families attending our shows are heartened to see young disabled actors performing with a professional theatre company. Many have commented that it has given them hope for the future of their children.
With no paid staff we rely on the generosity of our supporters to help us both develop and deliver our services. As a charity led by volunteers we work hard to raise funds with limited resources and value the support of The Community Foundation for Surrey. Since 2016 they have secured funding from donors such as the Gatwick Foundation and, recently, the Hamilton Fund provided monies for much needed production equipment for our multi-sensory pantomime, ‘Snow White’, which toured all over Surrey reaching nearly 2,000 children with learning difficulties and disabilities. One Surrey school commented: “A Christmas treat for pupils thanks to the brilliant Head2Head Theatre. Colourful, lively, interactive, multi-sensory performances.”
We are delighted to support Head2Head Theatre. The grants we make to groups in Surrey are made entirely possible by the giving of individuals, businesses and trusts whom we work closely with to help direct their giving to causes they are passionate about. You can find out more about Giving and Who we Support by clicking to through to the relevant pages.