“I love coming here joining in acting.” – Stan (Participant)
“Working with Bright Sparks is one of the best things I have ever done.” – Ian Graham (Sports and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Aspire CBS)
“Keep bringing the smiles to everyone. Loved my experience. Definitely something I’ll take with me.” – James Credland (Student placement)
“Bright Sparks are one of the most effective theatre companies working with the learning disabled community in the north of England.”
– Natalie Kyrkos (Leeds Playhouse Learning Disabilities Manager)
Nice To See You (2021 end-of-year show)
“Absolutely brilliant! So so good!”
Mandy Haigh - Leep1 (Leeds People First) Manager
Sarah Stead - Audience member
"I enjoy the drama, it gives me confidence and a positive mind."
Bhupesh - Cast member
"Amazing, as always."
Amber O'Sullivan - Headspace and Mental Wellbeing Coordinator, Woodhouse Community Centre (Oblong)
"The show did give me confidence inside me, feels amazing being the part of Bright Sparks."
Colleen Ward - Cast member
"A fabulous way to bring the community together. It put big smiles on all our faces."
"I had the pleasure of catching one of the performances of 'Nice To See You' in December 2021 and it was wonderful. Bursting with creativity, warmth, music and humour, with brilliant performances from the cast and a real feelgood factor which brought a grin to my face and a tear to my eye. Just what we need during these continually difficult times. Thank you!"
Nicky Bray - Freelance Community Music Worker
Life in The Cloud (incorporating the #howdoyoudoleeds project) 2020 onwards
“So much joy and so much happiness. And so much talent.”
Kerri - Arts Facilitator
“I don’t want these sessions to ever end.”
Louise - Participant
"You guys are the best!"
Selina Riley - Collaborator
Return Of The King 2019 stage@leeds
“Brilliant show. But what I loved the most, was that the cast members were in charge all the time."
Martin - ex Aspire CBS manager
“More people need to see this. If it doesn’t return soon, I'd be devastated.”
Maggie - Audience Member
“Celia has really been boosted up by doing this show. She's just more confident and absolutely buzzing about being the narrator.”
Vicky - Support Worker
“Elvis is back in building and I loved it! At the end, I turned to my friend with tears in my ears, to say, 'this is quite emotional isn't it?'. Only to see him in tears too.”
Daz - Audience Member
“I absolutely love it … amazing. I have worked with a few outside agencies but both John and Marc treat the group with great respect as adults and as individuals”
Michelle - Care Worker Aspire CBS
“I didn’t expect ‘Return of the King’ to be so good. It was better many of the ‘professional productions’ I have seen in recent years. So funny, exciting and moving. I could tell the cast loved being in the show as much as the audience loved watching it.”
Paul - Audience Member
“I laughed, I cried, and I even got up and danced at the end. An evening to remember for a long time.”
Christine - Audience Member
“I loved it. I really, really enjoyed acting, they are nice people and they are good to me.”
Dianne Mitchell – Participant
“I loved being the Evil Queen and casting my evil spells on Elvis can’t wait for the next show”
Colleen - Participant
“My confidence has grown, and I love been an actor I am the most gorgeous Elvis”
Alan - Participant
Big Drama Club
“I like drama it has helped me meet new people”
Chris - Participant
“Bright Sparks makes me happy. I like the drama and making new friends very much.”
Michael Ingram - Participant
“I was happy to be in the play. I enjoyed the pizza.”
Narinder - Participant
“Truly a lovely experience working with the Bright Sparks. Incredibly person centred, most definitely want to be involved in the future.”
Babs - Care worker / 1-to-1 support
"Thank you, Marc, John and Elaine, for costumes loved dressing up and drama."
Pat G - Participant
“I loved all of it, favourite was drama. I want to do more. Fantastic."
Vicky C - Participant
Real Friends School Tour
“My confidence has grown I would have never stood in front of so many people and I spoke to school children.”
Kalwant - Participant
“Drama has helped me to speak up and has helped me meet new people, I have learnt a lot about hate and mate crime.”
Susan - Participant
“Real friends is brilliant, Marc and John help us all be the best we can be. I love visiting different schools.”
Julie - Participant
“I am a support worker and have really enjoyed being part of the drama group. I have never acted before but absolutely love it. The people I support enjoy working on productions, from learning lines to body language and it's great just watching them enjoying themselves.”
Beckie - Assistant Manager Leep1
“I haven’t done drama since school I was very shy and it felt awkward, I participated with no expectation I felt so alive it was great.”
John – Leep1 work experience placement
Leah Bray-Hemingway – Aspire CBS staff
I saw the confidence of the customers I was supporting grow in every session. They had the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. It was heart-warming to see friendships develop.
The sessions were very person centred for each individual, Bright Sparks worked hard to involve everyone in the performance and rehearsals; highlighting customer’s talents in the performance ensured everyone got their chance to shine.
Throughout the session Bright Sparks took everyone’s opinions into consideration. They were constantly adapting parts of the sessions and the performance to ensure everyone was comfortable in their roles and costumes.
There was always such a happy and upbeat atmosphere in every session; even though there was a lot to complete in such a short period of time. The customers I supported absolutely loved every minute of each session, constantly asking when we were going back throughout the week. They were unbelievably excited for their friends and family to watch them perform and were extremely proud of themselves at the end. Everybody who came to watch the performance could not praise it more.
stage@leeds was a perfect venue for both rehearsals and the performances. It was also great to rehearse in this venue as we could really see the performance coming together. The costumes, lighting and sound effects added to the overall effect of the performance and really brought it together it felt just like we were in a professional show. I absolutely loved being part of these sessions and the performances, it was lovey to see the play slowly coming together and everyone getting involved… including staff. We cannot wait to come back!
Sam Bartle - Student
Working with Bright Sparks Theatre Company has been a wonderful eye-opener into how the community of learning disabled people function. The people I encountered immediately struck me as such kind-hearted, giving individuals that I was immediately humbled by it. The carers enjoyed the sessions as the people they were caring for and collectively we put together an amazing show. I was particularly interested in the way the show formed in its own fluid, dynamic way, being fundamentally stitched together from the fabric of ideas and obsessions the participants had. This open-ended, design-orientated way of learning is one of which I find fascinating and seeing it put into practice to support a community collided huge areas of interest for myself as a learner. Without a final product in mind, the project flourished into realms no one knew would be as beautiful as they were.
I learnt, or maybe more solidified, my appreciation for making things, for building and problem solving. Creating the set reminded me of learning through play and practicing my abilities was so enjoyable I could have spent days building and editing the props to perfection. I also learnt to relax, to appreciate non-conventional conversation in a way where sometimes the end of a conversation didn’t have to mean the same as the beginning.
Behind order is the chaos from which it was birthed. Working with Bright Sparks proves this to be true, their abilities to work with each other and the participants was impressive to say the least and I wholeheartedly thank them for the experience.
Darren - Leeds Cancer Awareness Project Coordinator
Having previously seen the ‘Over the Moon’ production by Bright Sparks Theatre Arts Company I knew that I was in for a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment…and I was not disappointed. Return of the King brought so many of my favourite themes together…a fantastical tale spanning time and space which has Elvis at its core…what’s not to like? For me this is community lead theatre at its absolute best: fun, inclusive, clever, kind and family friendly with a plot so full of twists and turns that there is never a dull moment.
I enjoyed this production as much as any I have seen, and I say that from the heart...I was entertained from start to finish. The dedicated Bright Sparks team ensure that all of their LD actors have fulfilling roles and there is never a feeling that anyone is outside of their comfort zone. I hope that Bright Sparks can continue their work long into the future…and I for one am eagerly awaiting to see what production they will pull out of the bag next time…you can rest assured that I shall be there…and you should do yourself a favour and join me!