Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


In 2012, with Disability Wales, Taking Flight piloted a piece of Forum Theatre in schools in Bridgend in South Wales, which sought to tackle disability hate crime and increase awareness of issues of disability and access amongst year 9 pupils. The aims of the project were to improve understanding of disability and indeed “difference” in general, to reduce incidence of hate crime and disability or difference related bullying in school- and as a consequence to improve social cohesion in the local community through working with the young participants. Added to this, it aimed to educate young people about how to identify Hate Crime in the first place, and reporting methods available to them- with the overall desired outcome of increasing reporting of hate crime in Wales.
Forum Theatre allows young participants to watch a short piece of theatre, identify where they think problems arise, rewind the action and replay it, stopping and replacing certain characters as they see fit to attempt to improve the outcomes. It is incredibly powerful and in the case of Real Human Being, allowed year 9 pupils to practice how they might deal with negative behaviour and bullying, in a safe, theatre environment. Audiences could also ask direct and candid questions of the disabled performers about their experiences and impairments- increasing awareness and challenging perceptions and negative notions of disabled people. In addition, they were able to see first hand the consequences of bullying and hate crime and to witness the effect this has on a victim. As part of the full day programme, as well as seeing the production and taking part in a Forum Theatre session, pupils were also part of workshops that looked at the social model of disability and compared it to the medical model. The pupils themselves evaluated both and noticed which model empowered the disabled person and allowed them to take control. This formed a sort of interactive Disability Equality Training which people generally have little access to but which is so beneficial to such young people, as pupils are often at a pivotal stage where they are forming their own value sets and ideals.
One of the wonderful things we realised about the project as we were running the pilot, was that it wasn’t limited to disability. Pupils were applying what they were thinking and feeling to other forms of perceived difference and evaluating and assessing how gay, trans and non binary, traveller and BAME people were treated in their school as well as pupils who were seen as different for other reasons.
The pilot was so successful that Welsh Government then funded the project under the Equality and Inclusion grant to tour schools across the whole of Wales from 2014-17.
At the start of the day with us, just 9% of pupils thought they knew what a Hate Crime was and at the end of the day, 75% did. The percentage of young people who knew what they would do if they experience or witnessed a HC was just 13% at the start of the day and 76% after working with us. Feedback from staff and pupils alike was positive with 100% of staff saying they would like the project to return and commenting that they would continue to use support materials in PSE lessons. Almost all pupils over the 3 years (over 9000 young people) scored the project 9 or 10 out of 10.
Now that WG funding has come to a close, we are seeking your help to continue this life changing project which not only reaches out to young people and challenges them to take a stand against hate crime in all its forms, but provides employment for a team of D/deaf, disabled and non disabled performers.
We want to retour Real Human Being to schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf- an area where economic and geographic factors combine to isolate many disabled people. South Wales Police stats account for around 47% of the HC reported in Wales so we want to bring our project back to this area to tackle the growing problem.

Project Video

Taking Flight Theatre Company

TFTC is run by 3 mums with 9 children between them & they have been creating inclusive, accessible theatre since 2007 with limited funds, seeking to challenge perceptions of disability & increase representation of D/deaf & disabled people in theatre as well as improve creative access for audiences

Location: Rhondda Cynon Taff, United Kingdom