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Half Moon seizes the day!

In our Community View column in the Docklands and East London Advertiser, Communications Manager Stephen talks about Half Moon’s World Down Syndrome Day celebrations and our first involvement in Seize the Day.
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition

Half Moon seizes the day!

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Taking place on 21 March, events are held to amplify the voices of people who have Down Syndrome, highlighting their vital role in our communities and calling for their full participation in anything that affects their lives.

Since 2019, Half Moon has worked with Tower Hamlets Support for Learning Service to bring children with Down Syndrome together in order for them to celebrate, tell their stories and be visible, thanks to funding from Canary Wharf Group.

This year the project saw 20 young people and their carers come together for two opportunities to make friends, work on drama skills, create costumes and learn new songs in Signalong, a simple version of British Sign Language, to help with communications skills. The theme was superheroes and participants developed their own characters with individual powers, poses and masks.

“These are the largest numbers we’ve ever had,” Linda Hall, from Tower Hamlets Support for Learning Service, told us.

“We’ve 20 young people who attend mainstream schools in Tower Hamlets taking part. Many of our pupils are the only ones with Down Syndrome in their mainstream schools, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to meet other people with Down Syndrome, make friends and put on a performance to share the joy of their experiences.

“We’re creating stories for them to share with everybody. Hopefully they will share it with their mainstream schools and their families. I think it’s so important that everybody gets a voice.”

The activities were also part of Half Moon’s involvement with World Performance Week and Seize the Day, a national initiative to raise the profile of Drama in schools and of Theatre for Young Audiences.

Between 2010 and 2020 there was a 24% drop in students taking GCSE Drama. The Covid pandemic had a devastating impact upon children and young peoples’ health and wellbeing, and on the theatres that produce work for young audiences. Funding for university Drama programmes has been cut and many schools and young people do not have access to any Drama and Theatre.

Seize the Day aimed to make the government, MPs, school governors and the wider public understand the learning potential, value of and support of Drama and Theatre Education.

Stephen Beeny is the Communication Manager at Half Moon

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