Opening new doors for young students with learning disabilities

Nick was part of the crew filming at Whitehall

Head2Head Sensory Theatre is a charity based in Surrey and dedicated to the special needs’ community providing multi-sensory, interactive and accessible drama for audiences presenting with a wide range and varied levels of disabilities.  

One of the key projects which fundraising will help to support and grow is our charity’s Work Experience Programme. A ground breaking initiative designed for students with learning disabilities transitioning from special school education.    

These students receive mentoring and guidance on how to work in a professional theatre environment: taking notes to which they could refer at a later date, learning to be punctual, not being afraid to ask questions or to request a mini break.  All this on parity pay with the professional actors!  Some of them have even progressed on to the books of the charity’s partner theatrical agency, opening doors to future employment. 

Nick Walewski, 35 years old, from Guildford, is a former student of The Orpheus Centre, a specialist residential performing arts college based in Godstone, Surrey.  He left in 2008 having developed a great passion for performance and thanks to Head2Head Sensory Theatre he was given the opportunity to become a part of a filming project at Whitehall Historic House. 

Nick was selected because his audition tape for Head2Head Nick demonstrated that he is a very talented actor with wonderful comic timing.  

Nick was part of the crew and helped create two familiarisation videos to highlight the house’s accessibility and demonstrate how to explore the site using sensory sacks – rucksacks filled with sensory items linked with the House.    

Nick’s comic skills provided the perfect balance with John Gregor during production

Amy Rhodes, Director & Producer, Head2Head Sensory Theatre said: 

“As a wheelchair user Nick’s involvement in the project was important to offer the viewers an accurate exploration of the house as well as a personal, first-hand account of the pros and cons of accessing a property that is over 500 years old!  But all Nick wished to talk about were the amazing cakes on sale in the Whitehall café.   His comic skills were balanced with that of John Gregor, a member of the Head2Head professional acting team, making the presentation relaxed, informative and fun … not easy to do when you have a ancient subject to talk about. 

Nick relished his time filming with us, absorbing every note from the director and videographer.  He was particularly keen to develop his skills as a voice-over artist.  In fact, he has asked Head2Head to consider him for any, and all, future voice-over work so he can gain more experience and build his CV.  Nick has a great voice quality with plenty of character and showed a great aptitude for this type of work. We are so pleased that his experience with us afforded him the opportunity to try voice-over work and acquire a new skill.  

Nick is incredibly hard working and a pleasure to work with. He was a fantastic addition to the cast and Head2Head would not hesitate to work with him again.   Go on … ask him … but we bet all he will want to talk about are the cakes on display at Whitehall café.” 

To help us support more students with learning disabilities, give through The Big Give from 30th November and your donations will be doubled!