First Act 2011

Carol Laidler – First Act 2011

On the 2nd November, Carol Laidler, the founder of First Act 2011 – a theatre group for people with a learning disabilities, visited the theatre during the monthly ‘Coffee, Cake & Chat’ morning and gave a wonderful talk to our visitors, volunteers and staff at the theatre.

First Act was originally established in 1994 as a part of the day services provided by the NHS and Social Services for people with learning disabilities. Early in 2011 the group was reformed as a charitable social enterprise (First Act 2011) based at Shanklin Theatre. Members participate in drama workshops, rehearsals and performances run by local tutors and guest professionals. The group offers a safe and inspiring environment where people who would find it impossible to undertake similar activities in the wider community can meet on a weekly basis. The large audiences who support the bi-annual performances are inspired by the confidence that the cast displays and amazed by latent talents brought to the fore. Actor Melvyn Hayes was moved to become a patron of the group after chatting to the cast before watching one of their shows. The skills explored at the workshops and the personal sense of achievement experienced when performing on stage often has a direct impact on improving the lives of the people who attend.

We were also delighted to welcome our Town Mayor – Mr Steve Knight and his wife Esther who joined us for the talk and also assisted us with the Grand Prize Draw on the morning.

First Act presents their next performance at Shanklin Theatre “Treasure Island” (The Panto) on the 9th-10th December starting at 6.30pm.

Above – Steve Knight – Carol Laidler & Esther Knight.

Michael Beston – November 2019