Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists (EBYA) has been a permanent fixture in the local community for 4 years. In 2017 we moved into a new home at Lighthouse, Poole, a professional arts centre with excellent public transport links. But we are operating at full capacity and during our summer residency we doubled in size. We want the chance to grow our activity so that more young people can benefit no matter what background them come from.

“Joining a group like EBYA has made me see the possibilities and genuine potential there is among integrated companies. You learn to accept and be accepted, and be prepared to work hard!!” EBYA member

“Since being part of EBYA I have seen my daughters confidence and maturity grow so much. I don’t know what we would have done if she didn’t have this, it plays such a big part of her life.” Parent of EBYA member

EBYA is an inclusive performing arts company open to all age ranges and abilities from 16-30 years. Our members identify as disabled and non-disabled, neurodiverse, straight, gay and migrant. Many of our members face multiple barriers to accessing education, training and employment. Disabled adults are twice as likely as non-disabled adults to have no formal qualifications. It is hardly surprising that, their passions having been squashed and their choices removed, disabled people struggle to find a role in the workplace: at 26 years of age disabled people are nearly 4 times as likely to be unemployed or involuntarily out of work as non-disabled people.

As a result of these overwhelming barriers our members can suffer from isolation, lack of self-confidence and the feeling of being an outsider in their own community. Our project will tackle these barriers head on and make a huge difference to EBYA members and our local community by:

• Doubling the capacity of our semi-professional auditioned performance company Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists who access weekly rehearsals, intensive masterclasses and make shows that tour across the South West

• Making British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and access support workers available at every session to ensure that our activities provide an equal platform for people with a physical or sensory impairment, learning disability and people who are nondisabled.

• Providing a coaching and mentoring scheme that enables 6 young people to work intensively with a qualified coach or mentor to develop career plans, goals and a support network to help them reach their full potential.

• Providing a bursary scheme so that young people from low income backgrounds can apply for money to support travel or training to advance their careers and training in the performing arts industry

• Training teachers, professional artists and organisations in our community and share our inclusive practice so that they are confident welcoming diverse participants into their classrooms, rehearsals, offices and stages. We want to influence our community to see that disabled and non disabled people can work together in the same company

• Our partnership with Lighthouse Poole and creative networks across the region means we can offer young people real work experience in a professional context. This funding will support and train the future generation to be confident, skilled and ready to take the next step in their lives. We want to increase the visibility of diverse young people within our community as active, positive, valued members of society to counter negative stereotyping that leads to hate crime

We want the performing arts to look like the world we live in. We want the performing arts to be fair and provide equal access to training and education. We want our inclusive practise to ripple out into our community and beyond - please help us achieve this vision and VOTE for Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.

*Statistics from ONS 'Measuring National Wellbeing' & JRF Research Paper - 'The education and employment of disabled young people'.

Project Video

Diverse City

Moment of Pride

We are proud of the young people who train with us. They strive not just to overcome enormous barriers, but to use their stories and lived experience as the material for extraordinary public performance. We are proud that 70% of our ensemble go onto further professional training and employment.

Location: Poole