Difference celebrated as Dansworks and Cotton Shed combine

CREATIVE organisations joined forces for an amazing Arts Council funded performance celebrating difference.

Cotton Shed Inclusive Theatre Company, based in Haslingden, and Dansworks Dance Academy, from Bacup, came together as DansShed and staged their first ever combined production at Haslingden High Theatre.

In total 15 performers were on stage with almost half coming from each organisation. The specially written and choreographed show featured dance, song, drama and mime.

Under the title of ‘Different’, it examined how children can be singled out by others for a variety of reasons and it concluded with a beautiful dance where the individuality of each performer was celebrated.

Although the idea for the production came from the leaders, the children involved, aged 8 to 11, added their own personal experiences to enhance the script.

Millie Cunniff, 10, from St James the Less RC School, Rawtenstall, has been attending Cotton Shed for three years.

She said: “I just love acting and have made lots of friends. I am really happy with our performance; it is really good.”

Lily Richards, 9, from St Anselm’s RC School, Whitworth, has attended Dansworks for 4 years.

She said: “I have enjoyed this because I have been able to do drama along with the dancing. My mum, dad, grandma, granddad and brother came along to see me perform.”

The project started in October, and the group only had eight months to write, devise and rehearse the performance.

Rhianna Edwards, 10, from Waterfoot Primary School, has been dancing at Dansworks since she was about two and loved the opportunity to take to the stage to act as well as dance.

Principal of Dansworks Karen Roe said: “This is the first collaboration between our two groups and it has been a huge success.

“Dansworks has just under 300 students and has an inclusive approach to teaching the performing arts with a focus upon excellence, so this project was perfect for both companies.

“The performance was put together during 24 sessions at Haslingden Primary School.”

Artistic Director of Cotton Shed Catherine Eddisford was delighted with the young performers.

She said: “Cotton Shed is an inclusive theatre company where no one has to audition, everyone is welcome to attend and bring their own creative talents.”

“Everyone has something to offer and we have more than 100 members from children to adults.

“We wanted to offer another aspect to our members and other children and so that is why we decided to put this project together.”

“The young members got the chance to tell their own stories through the performance.”

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