What we do

Blue Apple is an ambitious creative company that supports performers with learning disabilities to develop theatre, dance and film productions that are performed within a variety of large and small scale public venues.

Blue Apple is based in Winchester but our ever-expanding programme of workshop groups and outreach sessions is spread throughout Hampshire, whilst our performers tour throughout the southern counties and appear further afield nationally. 

The company received considerable attention following a Channel 4 News feature about its performances at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2016, and its production of Hamlet was the subject the subject of the award-winning TV documentary Growing Up Down’s. We strive to build effective partnerships regionally and nationally, sharing our approach as an exemplar of good practice.

“Blue Apple is a team builder. It builds both you as a person and as a character as well.” - James Benfield, Blue Apple performer

“The infectious enthusiasm on stage was really life-affirming. The performances delivered the story with huge integrity.” - Audience member, 2017 Changes production


What we've done

Blue Apple have produced 24 original theatre productions since 2005. These have included full company productions of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (2010), ‘The Government Inspector’ (2011), ‘The Snow Queen’ (2013), ‘Arabian Nights’ (2014) and ‘The Selfish Giant’ (2015).

Major touring productions have included the ground-breaking, anti-hate-crime show, Living Without Fear (2011-14); Hamlet (2012); and Much Ado About Nothing (2015).

Hamlet went on to be the subject of William Jessop’s hour-long BBC documentary ‘Growing up Downs’ which won the prestigious Creative Diversity Network Most Ground-Breaking Programme Award for changing perceptions of disability and was nominated for an International Emmy.

Much Ado About Nothing gained standing ovations across the South, including performances at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Jersey Arts Centre.

Blue Apple’s dance performances have been commissioned for festivals, conferences and prestigious events nationally.


How it started

The company was founded by Jane Jessop in 2005, as part of Winchester Mencap, with one part time drama teacher supported by volunteers.

In 2009, we were able to employ our first Artistic Director. In 2013 the company became established as a fully independent registered charity. In 2014, we were able to employ our first, full-time, Manager to work alongside our Artistic Director, Choreographer and Administrator.