Stage stars get helping hand with Leeds theatre’s £375,000 boost

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Young people with learning disabilities will take centre stage at a Leeds theatre thanks to a grant of £375,731.

Budding stage stars will get a helping hand after the West Yorkshire Playhouse was awarded the impressive sum to provide creative opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

The grant from the Big Lottery Fund will help support the Buzz programme for four years.

The programme offers tailored workshops and projects for people aged between 14 and 25 years old.

Robin Hawkes, West Yorkshire Playhouse executive director, said: “Providing access to and creating opportunities for people to take part in life-enhancing arts activities is of paramount importance to the playhouse.

“This grant recognises the impact that Buzz has on young people with learning disabilities and their families and our commitment to this vital work.”

Mr Hawkes added: “We are thrilled that we can further our provision over the next four years and will be looking to develop the range of educational and work experience opportunities we offer through Buzz as well as continuing to provide weekly workshops at our First Floor arts space and with partners across the city.”

The Buzz programme was set up in 2011 and aims to provide opportunities for participants to develop skills and confidence whilst gaining qualifications.

The Buzz creative arts course is an accredited alternative education course aimed at young people with learning disabilities who want to pursue a future in the arts.

Weekend workshops called Buzz Weekend Sessions are also held every Saturday and offer drama, music and visual arts activities on a drop-in basis.

For details, visit the website at