Performing arts courses for son with down syndrome-... - Mencap


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Performing arts courses for son with down syndrome- help!!!

Library-girl profile image

Hi my son is 20 has Down syndrome and is desperate to be a “world class” performer- he dreams of touring the world etc he doesn’t have any special talents but is obsessed and can’t be reasoned with. I am trying to get him on a performing arts course and a college in Manchester was particularly helpful but do not offer an entry level course and this is were his current college have said he is at ( at the moment he his doing a generic foundation course - maths/ English/ life skills etc and is bored with it says “ I’ve done this” in high school !) I am aware of mind the gap but don’t know how I’d get him there as it’s quite a distance and I work and don’t drive and also don’t know how this would be funded or even if funding would be available. Any suggestions/ guidance greatly received as he is getting really frustrated and angry and tends to direct it at me.

5 Replies
Sarah_Mencap profile image

Hello Library-girl

It is wonderful that your son has such ambition and drive. It would be great if he got the change to study drama, but there may also be opportunities for him to do this as a hobby.

There are quite a few theatres/groups that run in or near Manchester (but I know it so big that these may still not be particularly near you).

Aswell as Mind the Gap I have found:

> Based in Salford -

> Based in Chorlton -

> Based in Hulme -

It would also be worth seeing if your son can have some careers advice. They should be able to help you find other courses that are suitable for him.

Best wishes


Hi Sarah thanks for this I’ll take a look

LDAutie profile image
LDAutie in reply to Sarah_Mencap

Hi Sarah_Mencap long time no speak 😁 just thought I’d add I’m an artist with venture arts, they don’t do drama although they have done what’s called their cultural enrichment programme with several artists working backstage in theatres so there is kind of some connection but I don’t think it’d be enough as it’s more about studying what they’s an amazing organisation though,if you woud like Library-girl i coud speak to who I know in VA to see if they know of any other drama groups not mentioned here in Manchester,they have connections in nearby HOME who might (or might not) have some ideas.

I know the one Sarah also mentions DIY is supposed to be very good,but it’s in Salford if I remember right, and if your son was using public transport,it might mean several (2-3 buses) and/or a lot of walking to get from the main road to the building.

If you don’t get any answers,it’s also worth asking Karen Ryan who runs ‘stepping stones across the spectrum’ (hoping it’s still going) ,she’s a top lady,I know they did/do an intensive drama group and had one of the actors from coronation street doing regular sessions with them at one point.

I wonder, what about asking a college if he coud sit in on a drama course with a support/assistant,not doing it officially but being part of it? So he coud get experience without the official ness....if you know what I mean.

Library-girl profile image
Library-girl in reply to LDAutie

Hi LDAutie thanks for all your suggestions they are really welcomed and anything further you can add will always be gratefully received. Thanks again and take care library-girl

LDAutie profile image
LDAutie in reply to Library-girl

Hi Library-girl no problem at all! :D

ill email two people in VA now-if anyone will know any other drama related groups itll be them,i know its not the same thing as drama but VA quite often arrange acessible discos with HOME for learning disabled people,-since last year theyve done a few over zoom,i dont think its just for VA artists,if you think he woud be interested in these as well i can tell you when the next one is coming up,sorry i just thought id add that in case its of interest.

One other one ive just remembered is the trafford based charity- Stockdales,theyre a small,family like learning disability charity,they have a few residential homes mainly for PMLD and younger adults,they have a day centre i think, and lots of other stuff like respite,and then classes/groups for people with all levels of learning disability.

this was years ago but one of my old house mates used to go to their dancing class-i remember him upset about the class price though so he had to stop going as it was a barrier to him.

i know for certain they do a drama group but i dont know if they woud be running one now-eg, on zoom or waiting till theyre open again,and one other possible issue-i dont know how high level the teaching is,if he woud find it enough as i dont know anyone whose been to drama,one of my staff used to work for stockdales but they worked in the residential side of it so i cant ask them,its worth just asking about, as my day centre is running zoom classes.

One other idea,and i hate promoting their name but there is creative support (im not a fan of them in terms of support/their houses)-their own 'creative together' building though is very different,ran by great staff and dedicated volunteers apparently.they run a drama group there, ive heard its all mixed impairments in their classes so you will find people with learning disability as well as people who "only" have a mental health impairment or an ASC.

one downside to creative together, i dont know if you can pay for classes 'per class' or if you have to pay a yearly fee,i remember something about a yearly fee but i got confused and didnt bother visiting to try it out.

you do not need to be a creative support service user to do the classes,but it costs a bit more money for people who arent service users.

one other thing, i know theyre doing some things on zoom at the moment but i dont know what,i keep getting sent zoom links from them.

ill ask one of the staff here for you if theyve heard when its reopening as they work there as well.

right,ill stop posting ive just noticed how big this post is,i type without looking and my short term memory makes me forget with every sentance,i am sorry for waffling so much.

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