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Learning disabled actors star in seasonal pantomime

Everybody loves a pantomime at Christmas, not least Crawley charity Outreach 3 Way who put on their annual performance in December.

This year’s pantomime was an adaptation of The Jungle Book named “The Jungle and I” and was performed by people with learning disabilities and autism supported by Outreach 3 Way, our charity arm.

Not a detail was spared when it came to the cast's outfits
Some of the cast in their incredible costumes

Learning disabled actor Matthew Dawson played the lead character Mowgli in his first ever unsupported role. In previous pantomimes he was supported to do voice overs and smaller speaking parts, but this year his confidence has transformed.

Matthew worked hard to learn his lines and speak unsupported. As a result, he performed the leading role with ease, taking the audience through the story using his voice in addition to his acting.

Another sterling performance came from learning disabled actor Ian Mooray who played Baggie. Ian is yet to miss an opportunity to perform in the annual pantomime, and he always brings great creativity to the team – this is his 11th show to date!

Locality manager Clare Bermingham and support worker Clare Brett also cast aside their fears to take to the stage to perform.

The audience experienced the highs and lows of the story, but it was the penultimate scene in particular that had them spellbound.

Learning disabled actor Sianu Wilmor, used interpretive dance to portray the scene where fire breaks out in the jungle. Her outfit was adorned with winged flames, and she used the dance to symbolise the spreading of fire as the scene played out.

The pantomime attracted over 200 guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Crawley who made a special appearance on the night of the final performance.

The whole cast of the Jungle and I
The whole cast of the Jungle and I

Although the pantomime is a fantastic night out for members of the public, families and staff, for members of Outreach 3 Way it acts as so much more than that.

It brings the people we support and the staff together, supporting each other equally during the rehearsals and performances – even helping one another to remember their lines if needs be.

We would like to say huge congratulations to the cast for a brilliant show. Be sure to save the date for next year’s pantomime – the 14th and 15th of December. Merry Christmas!

Click here to view the full cast list.

Find out more about Outreach 3 Way here.