Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I like to shout about a good cause, but this is slightly different, as it is not specifically a cause, but something very close to my heart.
As someone who has a long history working with adults with learning disabilities, it still brings me to tears when I see or hear stories of them not being treated with kindness, dignity or respect. My other bug bear? Being treated with equality. So many people assume people with learning disabilities cannot do the things others do, and do them well, it has become the case that people ‘do not expect much’.
So how pleasing it is, that David Stanley of the ‘Music Man’ project has blown peoples perceptions out of the water, by organizing a show at the London Palladium.
David told me “Music is Magic” will be the first ever concert of its kind in a West End theatre, in which children and adults with learning disabilities truly are the stars. It promises to be life changing for the performers and audience alike. The variety concert will also witness the premiere of a specially written new musical called “From the Asylum to the Palladium”, which tells the story of “mental” hospitals where people with learning disabilities were treated as patients alongside single mothers, the mentally ill, homosexuals and poorly behaved children. I have a personal connection – my late Grandfather was a charge nurse in one such institution and is seen in the attached photo administering insulin to a patient. The journey from this dreadful past to the current ‘care in the community’ and the relative opportunities available today is told by the performers themselves, and will be a moving and stark reminder of the continual struggle faced by people with learning disabilities over many years.
Run by charity Southend Mencap, The Music Man Project is the UK’s only permanent full time music education service for children and adults with learning disabilities. It works with 3 year olds to 70 year olds and aims to extend its impact to other communities around the country. Commended by the Prime Minister and described as outstanding by OFSTED, The Music Man Project was recently shortlisted for the BEST SEN Resource category at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.”
‘From The Asylum To The Palladium’ will no doubt be a magical evening, and is the groups West End debut.
If you want to find out more, there is also a great documentry on Youtube.
You can book tickets for the show, which takes place on 21st June 2015 at 6.30pm here: http://www.reallyusefultheatres.co.uk/events/event/music-is-magic-at-the-london-palladium