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College theatre company launching to change lives

2 February 2022

Friends, family, students and staff gathered last week in Crawley for the pre-launch event of a life-changing theatre company on Thursday (20 January).

Pride filled The Hawth Theatre as the audience were treated to a glimpse of Crawley College’s newest venture Thinc. Ahead with a one-off performance by its sister company, Theatre Inc.

The award-winning Theatre Inc launched back in 2015 to offer specialised training for talented young performers for whom normal training routes may not be accessible. It was the first educational programme of its kind in the UK to be recognised by the Government’s Educational Funding Agency.

Thinc. Ahead, which is due to officially launch in September, will shadow the model that Theatre Inc has delivered at Chichester College for the past seven years.

The pre-launch event gave prospective members, parents and various other audience members the opportunity to find out more about this new theatre project.

Andrew Green, Chief Executive Officer at the Chichester College Group, said: “I was there at the very beginning of Theatre Inc and it is something that I am extremely passionate about.

“Theatre Inc and Thinc. Ahead both aim to celebrate diversity and inclusion, working beyond expectations to create, perform and to educate.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything Theatre Inc has achieved so far and I can’t wait to see Thinc. Ahead take flight in much the same way, inspiring young people.

“Our vision is to launch similar theatre companies across all of our colleges and to continue to provide routes for all young performers who have a dream.”

Thinc. Ahead and Theatre Inc are both recognised as a fully-funded pathway for young people with additional needs. They are inclusive theatre companies which specialise in delivering award-winning, outstanding education to students who have additional learning requirements or who live with a range of conditions, including Down syndrome, autism, ADHD and Asperger syndrome.

Vicki Illingworth, Principal at Crawley College, added: “I’ve been really inspired by seeing what Theatre Inc have achieved in Chichester and I know we can do the same for young people in the Crawley area.

“We’ve seen the growth in these amazing young people, seen what they have been achieving and we’re very much looking forward to replicating it at Crawley College. It really changes lives, and that’s what we’re here to do. It’s so important and I think anyone who has seen these young people perform will understand just how special this is.”