A WINCHESTER theatre company for those with learning disabilities is set to go global.

Blue Apple will join ArtStream, based in Maryland, USA, to celebrate their joint 15th anniversary with a special Zoom event.

Both theatre companies, which aim to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities through the arts, were set up in 2005.

The online party will include warm-up routines, dance moves and a virtual blowing out of the candles on a birthday cake.

Simon Morris, general manager at Blue Apple, said: “We are very excited to be teaming up with ArtStream to celebrate 15 years of both our organisations.

"ArtStream is an inspirational organisation that shares identical values with Blue Apple about helping to achieve more equality for people with learning disabilities, who are disadvantaged in mainstream culture in so many ways.

“Both companies support people to develop their personal skills by learning theatre skills and then challenge for more inclusion in the wider world. Like us, ArtStream believes that if people are given more opportunities to show what they can do then they will break the glass ceiling.”

This is not the first time Blue Apple has worked with a similar group in the USA.

In 2018 its touring company undertook a residency at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, as part of its collaborative dance partnership with the University of Winchester, and delivered workshops with members of the local Arc centre who also have learning disabilities.

Heller An Shapiro, executive director at ArtStream, said: “Teaming up with Blue Apple is a great opportunity for our performers with intellectual and developmental disabilities – including autism - to be inspired by the accomplishments of their peers across the world.

“We are honored to be celebrating our 15th anniversary together! Both Blue Apple and ArtStream showcase the many talents of people with disabilities, building confidence and skills that are transferable to the workplace and social settings.”