Features of the new Performing Arts Centre

  • A large spacious area for drama and theatre work with robust seating that can easily be folded away. These improved facilities with allow us to host a greater number of touring theatre companies and performance groups.
  • Specialised acoustics and darkened rooms with separate controls to provide appropriate lighting to support better inclusion. The ability to physically change the environment will enable us to manage different levels of tolerance and proactively respond to any individual sensory needs and preferences. 
  • Viewing facilities to allow families to share in the experience, enabling them to watch performances virtually or in-person from a separate space. Most young people live at Prior’s Court full-time, so it is important that their families are able to be part of their creative journey. 

Donate to our Performing Arts Centre appeal

Features of music rooms

Music therapy can help autistic young people with complex needs improve motor, cognitive and social skills.

Two music rooms with different purposes: 

  • One room will be a dedicated space set up for large instrument work, complete with a drumming kit and piano.  This space will be used specifically for music practice, allowing instruments to be left assembled to save staff time setting up and dismantling after each session. 
  • A second multi-purpose room will be used for therapy work, less formal music lessons with percussion instruments and act as a break-out space for the whole arts centre. 

Music has helped our son in moments of distress - he is able to focus on a piece of music and keep engaged in a way that we would never have believed could be possible."
Parents of a young person at Prior's Court

Donate to our Performing Arts Centre appeal

Dance and Movement

Autistic young people with complex needs can have limitations on their movement and agility. Dance therapy not only offers opportunities to develop body awareness and promote general wellbeing, but active performing arts projects can help with improved attention, concentration and emotional expression. 

Therapists can use choreographed sequences and repetitive movement to help enhance memory and stimulate verbal communication skills. ‘Intensive interaction’, which mirrors a young person’s movement and sounds, can help with engagement and being able to better relate to others.  

Features of the dance facility

  • A dedicated studio for dance and movement sessions 
  • Retracting hidden mirrors to suit the individual needs of the young people 
  • Sprung floor 

Donate to our Performing Arts Centre appeal

Foyer and Outside Space

Access to outdoor spaces is important for people with autism.

We recognise the importance of the area surrounding the new facility, and we want to ensure that it is an extension of the centre by playing an integral part in the success of our inclusive performing arts programme.

Features of these spaces: 

  • A welcoming area with toilet facilities. 
  • An outdoor learning area with a canopy and appropriate, flooring that incorporates the same learning from inside the building through sound and visuals.

Image: Proposed floorplan for the Let Me Shine Performing Arts Centre

See the Case for Support booklet for this appeal

General features of the arts centre

  • A multi-purpose space that can be used as a ‘breakout’ room for young people not able or ready to join the larger group. There are currently no safe breakout areas within our current performing arts spaces where a young person can take time out to calm before re-joining an activity
  • The centre will provide vocational or work experience opportunities for autistic young people with complex needs.
  • The centre will have strong sustainability credentials including solar panel installation and a sedum/ green roof, alongside energy-efficient lighting and heat recovery ventilation.

Donate to our Performing Arts Centre appeal