A new performing arts group aimed at people with additional needs has been launched in Wisbech.
Bedazzle Arts Wisbech began in style last Wednesday when the first recruits learned and performed a number from the musical Hairspray impressing special guest, the town’s mayor.
Councillor Steve Tierney was at the Queen Mary Centre to officially open the company which is part of a growing number of Bedazzle groups across the area.
There are already companies in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Harlow and Chelmsford and there are plans to grow further.
Lisa Benincasa who leads the Wisbech group said the aim is not only to provide people with additional needs the chance to perform but to also gain qualifications in performing arts - if they want to take them.
“We try to offer education as well as fun. We find people who attend get so much out of being part of Bedazzle - it boosts their confidence and self-reliance and gives them an opportunity to do something they might not otherwise get a chance to do,” said Lisa.
The group is aimed at people aged 16 and over but younger members are welcome if they are accompanied by someone who can provide support.
There are two coaches local performer Laura-Jayne Shippey, who is well-known through her connections with the Angles Theatre, and Russ Welche.
Russ suffers from hearing loss, but is a qualified Zumba instructor and Lisa said: “He understands the challenges of having a disability. He works really hard to teach himself Zumba and he is absolutely brilliant.”
Bedazzle has been running 11 years since being launched by husband and wife team, Phil and Diane Janssen. Diane is an ex-actress herself.
It is hoped to recruit up to 30 students to the Wisbech company. Classes will run in four 10-week terms, once a week, and the cost is £250 per term, with sessions lasting three hours.
The Wisbech group will meet Wednesdays at the Queen Mary Centre from 10.15am to 1.15pm. Contact Lisa for details on: 07900 193271.