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Project information

Black Cab Theatre

Black Cab is a unique theatre co based in Hackney, London consisting of adults with learning disabilities who combine their own ideas to create meaningful theatre for public performance. By using the arts as a tool, participants develop their own personal & social skills and new theatre skills.


Charity information: Access All Areas

Access All Areas logo
  • Need


    There's a distinct lack of representation for those with learning disabilities in the performing arts sector. Black Cab's members have a broad spectrum of disabilities including Asperger’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy & other complex needs. Many are local to Hackney & are at a disadvantage facing challenges such as low income, poor communication & isolation (1 in 3 adults have no contact with friends). With local support services closing there is palpable risk they will be nelgected.


    Through taking part in drama workshops and performing in a professional theatre, 33 adults with learning disabilities will report improved personal, social and creative skills, including confidence, self esteem, team working and communication by the end of the first year.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Give those with a learning disability the opportunity to experience & engage in performing arts


    » Weekly drama group using the combined ideas and skills of participants to produce performing arts based projects that are exciting, alive and varied

    What success will look like

    Success will be...delivering a high quality theatre provision in Hackney for adults with learning disabilities

    Aim 2

    Give participants the opportunity to learn new useful skills and have great fun in the processs


    » Signing members up with our 'train me up' scheme allowing them to gain an accredited qualification in relation to performance arts
    » Working with a wonderful artistic director and creative learning officer.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...an increase in their overall skills in working creatively.

    Aim 3

    To present the group’s work to the wider public in the theatre at Hoxton Hall, and other theatres.


    » Produce on average, two professional performances a year at Hoxton Hall
    » Perform at related art festivals and other local theatres
    » Audience attendance will lead to an increased understanding of issues that people with a learning disability face, & identification with their peers

    What success will look like

    Success will be...at least 360 audience members (including a 50% learning disabled audience) will attend our productions and reporting enjoyment by giving feedback

    Aim 4

    Encourage teamwork & positive communication, & build the confidence & independence of participants


    » Use a collaborative approach to devising productions with the group members, utilizing their ideas to structure the shows
    » Allow socializing and free flowing communication in a creative environment with drama as the vehicle to do this
    » Performing in at least 2 professional productions which will give a voice to their ideas, opinions and concerns.

    What success will look like

    Accessible questionnaires will be given out to all parents/carers for completion to measure the impact on their lives and how it has benefited the person they support

    Aim 5

    To create greater interactions with the local community & provide a pathway for future employemnt


    » Our workshop assistants will be volunteers from the local community allowing those with learning disibilites to collaborate with those without
    » Finding our performers work in the industry (in the past Rainbow group members have secured paid work on Casualty and Holby City, to name a few)

    What success will look like

    Success will be...An increased Number of participants in education, training, paid or voluntary employment and living independently.

  • Impact


    Access all Areas believes in creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities within the arts and by giving them the experience with the rainbow theatre group they will be able to gain a stepping stone into the industry. In addition they will become a greater part of the community. People with learning disabilities were notably less likely to participate in a range of leisure and community-based activities than there counter parts and gives group combats that.


    performers pulling out the the show. We have found that members of rainbow drama group relish what they do with their heart and soul and very rarely want to leave! Performers pulling out has never been a issue but we do have the workshop assistants on hand to act as understudies.


    Funders of the project will receive regular updates at the end of each term, showing current and proposed activities and evaluation records showing progression (anonymous so individual's privacy is respected) and reports on any move into volunteering and employment.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Teaching 3 tutor sessional costs
      £2,700 Rent Hoxton Hall hire fees
      £500 Utilities Electricity, heating, water
      £700 Props/ Costumes design
      £600 extra incurred costs Volunteer expenses Ad. rehearsal time, director cost insurance
      £500 Marketing Website maintained, flyers newsletter etc
  • Background


    Hoxton, Hackney East London


    Although, in theory people with learning disabilities should have the same rights, choices and opportunities as non-disabled people, in reality this is not always the case.Since May 2011 Hackney has seen colossal 186.4% rise in long term youth unemployment. (Hackney, 2012) This far exceeds London’s average, of a 4.9% youth unemployment. Hidden within those statistics are the youths with learning disabilities. (Hackney Gazette, 2012)
    Less than 1 in 5 people with a learning disability work

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have a proven track record of delivering high quality theatre provision in Hackney for adults with learning disabilities since 1976. A strong user led committee was formed in 2007 when Rainbow became a registered charity. The service users, parents and carers fought to keep the project going as it is the only project of its quality in Hackney. We rebranded the company to Access all Areas in 2011.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nick Llewellyn

    Artistic Director. Ba (Hons) Drama and Education degree and an MA in Performance Making.10 years of facilitating drama workshops with community groups