A new fundraising appeal has begun to ensure more young people with autism can benefit from the transformational power of the performing arts.

Prior’s Court has launched a new fundraising campaign to support the build of an innovative and ground-breaking performing arts centre on our site.

An artist's impression of the Let Me Shine Performing Arts Centre

The Let Me Shine Performing Arts Centre will feature adapted facilities to support young people with complex autism to access opportunities in music, dance and drama and the life-enriching benefits this provides.

Individuals with autism face many barriers to accessing the arts – from light and noise sensitivities, to understanding of social rules – and one aim of the centre is to mimic theatre environments to prepare young people to access arts venues in the community successfully. This is in addition to having the opportunity day-to-day to express themselves creatively in a dedicated, bespoke space.

Tailored facilities at the centre, the conversion of an existing “school hall”-style space at Prior’s Court, will include:

  • An area for drama and theatre work, ideal for hosting touring companies and groups, with specialised acoustics and light control controls to better support inclusion.
  • Two music rooms for large instrument work and music therapy space.
  • A dance studio featuring retracting hidden mirrors and a sprung floor.
  • An outdoor learning area and a breakout room, both to suit individual learning needs.
  • Foyer and reception area to support vocational learning.

Sue Piper, Director of Young People’s Learning, said: “Creativity is not bound by language or social conventions making it a powerful outlet for our young people with complex autism - who often are pre or non-verbal - to communicate their needs, expressions and feelings.

“Ultimately, access to the arts is a right, not a privilege. And by creating this centre, we hope to deliver that right to our young people, and provide access opportunities for other young people with autism who do not attend Prior’s Court.

“Our ambition is to use the centre to research best practice around providing support to access the arts, and sharing these learnings with others in the education and performing arts sectors for the benefit of people with autism, and their families, across the country and beyond.”

The proposed floor plan for the arts centre

Karen White, Head of Fundraising, said: “This centre has the potential to transform the lives of young people with autism across the country – both through having direct contact with the facility, and indirectly through our sharing of best practice learning.

“The performing arts has provided many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for young people at Prior’s Court – from recording their own music single at Abbey Road Studios to taking part in music festivals. With your help, we can ensure the power of the arts enriches lives on a daily basis and allow young people with autism to flourish.”

For more information, see the appeals page or watch the appeal video below.

For fundraising queries, go to our donations page or contact [email protected].