MEET Wigan Borough’s very own magnificent seven. Fran, Beth, Irene, Mark, Martha, Rob and Debbie all share a passion for performing as well as a desire to get the word out about living with a learning disability.
Together they are More Than Words and they’ve got to be the hardest working theatre-group in local showbiz.
They are regular performers across the borough and beyond and they put disability issues centre stage and the cast members use the stage to communicate their personal experiences and feelings.
The project was developed directly at the request of people with learning disabilities. All the members attended audition taster workshops before being offered a place.
Cast member Fran Rafferty says “More Than Words means a lot to me.
“I enjoy coming and performing to lots of groups. We want to educate people about people with learning disabilities by our work.”
The team helps train others to support people with learning disabilities through creative and interactive events all with the aim of promoting positive images and to make sure their voices are heard.
In reality, it’s more than a theatre company and the groups’ ambitions really don’t stop at the stage door.
They now want to take the show on the road and become a fully-fledged theatrical troupe – independent and employing others with learning disabilities to be part of the cast.
Sue Seager, who is a Drama Therapist with the council and the group’s mentor, says: “Our work and performances try to inspire people with learning disabilities to realise their aspirations.
“To be all they want to be and live the lives they want to.”
For more information about More Than Words and to find out how to become a volunteer call 01942 776 579 and speak to Sue Seager.
Are you on the Radar?
Radar Keys, which are made for use with all the disabled toilets in the borough, are now on sale at the Leigh Life Centre, Wigan Civic Centre and Aspull and Lowton area offices. They are priced at £3 each.
Volunteers help with free advice
Paveways Plus is a free information, advice service for people with a disability and their carer.
Its team of dedicated volunteers have been responsible for helping more than 1,000 people in Wigan and Leigh year on year. It provides information on benefits, aids, adaptions, self help groups, approved handy men, accessible holidays plus activities for disabled children.
If you have been assessed as not eligible for services but need help, call Sylvia Curtis, Service Manager, on 01942 519909.