Equal People Performing Arts – more commonly known simply as Equal People – was established in 2005, shortly after Penni Bubb had set up the Mushroom Theatre Company, with the intention of promoting the benefits of the performing arts, alongside the aim of creating a fully inclusive Theatre Company for the community.Whilst Mushroom Theatre Company sought to integrate children with special needs with able-bodied children in all their classes and performances, it was clear that a dedicated performance venue and space was needed in order to fully realise the potential.
Equal People was formally registered as a charity in December 2006 (number 1116649), and in 2007 ex-pupil Lee Mead, now TV/West End Star, became patron of the charity. Equal People and Mushroom Theatre Company have worked closely ever since. The charity has a board of trustees and a fundraising team who work very hard on a voluntary basis, many of whom are also actively involved in Mushroom Theatre Company.
Back in the early days of the Charity a feasibility study was undertaken to explore the need to build a purpose built theatre and performance area that could cater for disabled performers and spectators, as there was no other arts facility in the area to provide this. This new building would provide a safe place for disadvantaged children and young people to participate in performing arts; be a totally accessible performance and learning environment for those in wheelchairs; and would become a community area that could be used by ourselves, Mushroom, local schools and organisations, and fellow theatre groups.
This has continued to be a primary objective of the Charity, and we were very excited to move into new purpose-built and fully-accessible studio space and offices in December 2014.
The video below was recorded in the Mushroom Shed that was our home for the first ten years of the journey.