Kylie Minogue has expressed support for a Barnsley theatre company for young adults with learning difficulties. ‘Cross the Sky’ is made up of actors with learning disabilities, and is managed by The Civic in Barnsley.
Singer songwriter and Special Education Needs teacher, Simon Grainger (Graingerboy), tweeted the pop star a video of the group rehearsing, ‘Dancing’ inspired by Kylie, with his ‘very talented group’ at Cross the Sky. The pop icon responded, ‘Keep up the great work guys!’ and tweeted the video to over two million followers. The video has now been viewed around the world and Cross the Sky have received lots of messages of support from Kylie fans.
Using a wide spectrum of art forms with support from professional artists Simon Grainger, Becky Newbould and Cath Smart, Cross the Sky perform original songs, visual and theatre work inspired by the young adults’ personal experiences. Their last piece ‘Wings’ was performed in theatres around Yorkshire and presented a powerful take on growing up with a learning or physical disability in the UK today.
Simon Grainger said: “It was such a thrill to get a message of support from a global music icon like Kylie. The group were all over the moon and very excited. It has also given us all a great boost as we embark on devising our new show.”
Alongside a year-round arts programme, The Civic offers educational and engagement activities with schools and local community groups. Cross the Sky is part of its commitment to increasing participation in the arts and supporting young people to reach their potential.
The group meets once a week and offers members the opportunity to devise their own performances, write their own songs and provides a vital social network. Group members are able to build their confidence and learn new skills whilst doing something they love in a supportive environment.
Helen Ball, CEO of The Civic, said: “Everyone at Cross the Sky was really excited Kylie recognised their work. Using the arts to transform and enrich lives is an important part of The Civic’s mission, and one of the driving forces behind our ambition to renovate and expand as a world class centre for the arts.”
The Civic, an independent arts charity, has a third of its building unoccupied.
Helen added: “There are countless research studies around the impact of culture on our well-being. We have three unused floors that if renovated, can unlock huge potential. It’s great to get recognition and a boost from Kylie, and we hope her profile helps inspire people to support our #Connect fundraising campaign and the wonderful Cross the Sky.”
To support #Connect visit www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/supportus/connect
Join the debate #connect @BarnsleyCivic or contact Helen Ball at The Civic, Hanson St, Barnsley S70 2HZ to get involved.