Special Assignments Company

The Special Assignment Company was created as a response to Blue Apple’s ever growing ‘waiting list.’ After initial workshops, conversations began with the University of Winchester and the SAC was born.  The idea was that the company would be formed with University students working alongside people with learning disabilities; all with equal status.

Over the past few years the SAC have performed at Theatre Royal as part of the Mayor’s charity gala with their melodrama Family on the Frontline; a hugely successful appearance as walkabout tourists, The MisTrips, as part of Hat Fair, Door 8 at P&G Wells Bookshop, Winchester, as part of The Woolly Hat Fair’s Advent Calendar project, A Christmas Cornucopia and, most recently, 4 Calling Birds, which took place at Hillier's Garden Centre and The Tower alongside the main company's production of It's A Wonderful Life.

4 Calling Birds

Let the Blue Apple Special Assignments Company whip you up into a bird frenzy. Be dazzled by this new and exotic exhibition to celebrate the fourth day of the Woolly Hat Fair’s ‘12 Days of Christmas’. Can you find and beckon out all the magical exhibits? And will you leave with a new Christmas wish?


The Manager - Grant Powell
Managers Assistant - Lisa Fisher
Managers Assistant- Gemma Green
Birdiso Beau’s - Claire Budden and Jane Chadwick
ChaCha Lingos - Alistair Sinclaire and Jennie Grover
The Magnalas - Tom Beecham and Daniel Chopra
Gloriousa Houla Houla’s - Rebecca Davis and Benedict Tyler 
Dr Peacock - Neil Bennet  
Professor Crow - James Elsworthy

Facilitated and Directed by Kate Hadley

The Special Assignments Company were commissioned to make a brand new piece for the Woolly Hat Fair’s Twelve days of Christmas 2016. At the beginning of November, we were assigned a day and place and since then we have been working hard devising our brand new piece 4 Calling Birds. Each character has been decided and developed by the individual and we have worked as a group to unite all the elements. It has been an honour to work again in collaboration with the Hat Fair to make new work with the dedicated, talented and energetic creative team that is the Special Assignments Company.

The production took place on 8 December at Hillier’s Garden Centre, Winchester and then transferred to The Tower, Kings’ School on the 9 and 10 December.

With thanks to: Volunteers Samantha Sharpe, Cherry Lambert, Jennifer Walmsley and Craig Lockwood. Michelle Walker and all at Woolly Hat Fair, Kings’ School, Winchester, University of Winchester, TreeCreeper.

A Christmas Cornucopia

Blue Apple’s ‘Special Assignment Company’ proudly present an abundant and lavish array of Christmas tales, songs and poems.

Originally produced as part of the first ever Woolly Hat Fair, in the historic and atmospheric P&G Wells bookshop, the company was unable to resist the opportunity to be part of Blue Apple’s Christmas celebrations. Expect the unexpected and Merry Christmas!

The Night Before Christmas

Daniel Chopra – Narrator
Gemma Green – Mother
Grant Powell – Father
Rea Lillywhite – Child
Ben Tyler – St. Nicholas

The Grinch who Stole Christmas

Chanele Sillince – Narrator
Lisa Fisher – Girl Who
Antanas Schiastney – Boy Who
Ali Sinclair-Wilson – The Grinch

The Little Match Girl

Francesca Wells – The Little Matchgirl
Neil Bennet – Narrator
Emma Friend – Narrator 

A Christmas Carol

Guy Walkington – Narrator
Tom Hatchett – Scrooge
Jane Chadwick – Niece
James Ducarreaux – The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Reindeer Report

Jane Chadwick – Reporter

All other parts played by members of the company plus Lotta Laajalahti and Eleanor Brooks

Direction - Catherine Gillard
Costumes & Props - Jenni Sundheim
Stage Management - Kirsty White

Artistic Director - Peter Clerke
Management - Joanna Ridout & Nicola Peacock
Administration - Elisabeth Yeats-Brown 

With thanks to: Michelle Walker and all at Woolly Hat Fair; Crispin Drummond, David Simpkin and all the staff of P&G Wells; Louise Kerr, Winchester College wardrobe; Heather Smart, Cornflowers Gift Shop; Phil Stanier & University of Winchester Performing Arts Dept.; Katie Appleford.