Leicester children charity’s global appeal

A Leicester theatre charity is attracting worldwide attention thanks to its work for children with learning disabilities. Bamboozle is just back from performing two of its productions in Shanghai and is now en route to Australia and aiming for the USA.

Bamboozle, which uses theatre and music to create multi-sensory experiences for children, including the most severely disabled, is taking its Down to Earth show down under to the Melbourne Arts Centre.

Down to Earth is an interactive, multi-sensory production inspired by the Land Army girls of World War II, where children with profound and multiple learning difficulties can experience a closeness with nature.

Director Christopher Davies, who co-founded Bamboozle in Leicester 23 years ago, has also been invited to the Sydney Opera House to train its staff in The Bamboozle Approach to making theatre for learning disabled audiences.

He is also off to Bangkok and Singapore in September to deliver training for the British Council and Arts Council Singapore. Bamboozle is discussing staging a show at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts which is planning an autism festival in 2018.

Christopher said: “We first took Bamboozle shows to China in 2016, so it was wonderful to be asked back. The 2017 shows attracted huge publicity out there, with four Chinese TV channels filming performances.

“I delivered seminars to 300 people in the theatre in Shanghai with 5,000-plus watching via live streaming. We are being invited back again and are putting together a three-year plan of Bamboozle performances and masterclasses to train Chinese actors to deliver our shows.”

Bamboozle’s productions feature actors and puppeteers, including Ben Forgham from Burbage. They are assisted by stage manager Katie Bosomworth, who is from Barrow on Soar.

Christopher said: “It’s so exciting to be not just entertaining children in other countries but to be enabling local performers and directors to learn the techniques that are pioneered in Leicester and that cross language and cultural distances.”