Stagecoach Helps Christmas Come Early For Merseyside School Children

Stagecoach Helps Christmas Come Early For Merseyside School Children
Unity Theatre is an award-winning independent theatre, based at Hope Place in Liverpool.Stagecoach

Stagecoach Merseyside Cheshire and South Lancashire have teamed up with Unity Theatre to sponsor a fun retelling of the classic children’s fairytale ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – helping over 200 children enjoy the show and make the performance more accessible.

Produced in partnership with Action Transport and innovative disability arts organisation DaDaFest, Beauty and the Beast shows that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. The inclusive production runs until January 5th and has received rave reviews since opening in November.

Stagecoach’s support enabled the theatre to integrate British Sign Language into the performance and run ‘relaxed’ performances offering a less formal environment to help reduce anxiety levels and create a safe and supportive environment for D/deaf children or those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorder or learning disability, opening up the story for all.

In addition to sponsoring the show, Stagecoach provided transport for over 180 pupils and staff at St Oswald’s Church of England Primary School in Bootle to watch the performance and invited 50 children from Merseyside children’s charity KIND to watch the show as their guests.

Rob Jones, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “We are very proud to have sponsored Unity Theatre’s Christmas show, Beauty and the Beast, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to invite children from KIND and St Oswald’s School to share in the Christmas magic with us.

“Connecting communities is at the heart of our business and inclusivity is something we’re passionate about. We loved the vision and ethos behind this production. With its strong messages of tolerance, acceptance and diversity, Beauty and the Beast is a perfect Christmas production, and we were delighted to be able to work with Unity Theatre to support the inclusion of a BSL signer to sign the production and ensure more pupils were able to enjoy the performance.”

Gordon Millar, Unity Theatre artistic director and CEO, said: “Unity Theatre has a long history of inclusivity, and this 2018’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast in association with DaDaFest is no exception. We are passionate about reaching more diverse audiences – including those with disabilities – and we’re most grateful to Stagecoach for this new partnership which has been instrumental in enabling us to reach wider audiences with a variety of needs.”

Stagecoach Bus is one of the UK’s major employers, supporting around 24,000 jobs across the UK and 1,209 jobs in Merseyside and South Lancashire. Over 200 people have completed apprenticeships with Stagecoach since 2004 and the company currently employs around 150 apprentices.  All Stagecoach vehicles are fitted with eco-driving systems which lower emissions and the company has shown the biggest commitment to using 100 per cent biofuel of any UK bus operator.

Unity Theatre is an award-winning independent theatre, based at Hope Place in Liverpool. With an ethos based on creativity, participation, innovation and diversity. The company works extensively with the Merseyside community, offering bespoke workshops and access to the arts. It was originally founded in the 1930s as the Merseyside Left Theatre.

Tickets for Beauty and the Beast are limited but can be booked online at unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk or by calling the Unity Theatre box office on 0151 709 4988.

Tom Harrison
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