Young, gifted and learning disabled. 

Fifty young people are coming together to make an inclusive arts festival this half term.

The festival called Ordinary Extraordinary is for disabled and non-disabled young people and their families and is taking place between 24th and 26th October at Dartington Hall. The festival is bringing the community together to talk about loneliness, well-being and connection in ways that young people feel comfortable with – through the arts – with the support and expertise of Branchline, a consortium of local community partners including Lifeworks, Daisi, Dance in Devon, Play Torbay, Splash Devon and Soundart Radio.

Ordinary Extraordinary offers families an accessible, affordable and inclusive programme of activities to end the half-term holiday. There will be exciting participatory animation and film making workshops, yoga, relaxed cinema screenings and performances with great bands including Weapons of Sound, the UK’s most eco-friendly junk band.

The young people have led the curation and development of the festival programme, as well as crowdfunding £5,124 to help make it happen. This includes £1,000 match funding from Devon County Council and support from Children in Need, Doing What Matters, Sobell Foundation and Arts Council England.


Brian Harty, CEO of Lifeworks says “Lifeworks is delighted to be working in partnership with our Branchline colleagues on the production of the Ordinary Extraordinary arts festival, which is developed with and led by the young people we support. We are particularly inspired by this year’s focus, initiated by the young people, on loneliness and mental wellbeing and we are looking forward to hosting a seminar which will gather people with lived experience alongside those with expertise in this field.

Each young person involved has an important role to play from creating animations to catering, illustration to event management. Twenty Young Creatives are producing performances, to premiere at the festival. Through immersive, creative workshops with local artists and companies, the group are also completing a nationally recognised Arts Award certificate as part of the process.


Andrew, a young animator says “it’s an honour to be able to make this animation, learning new skills in audio and sound production. Never let boundaries put you down in life.

Rhys, who has been involved since the pilot festival in 2018 says “It’s good to be back… it’s a great learning to do animation and art”.

Artists and companies involved include Funky Llama, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Encounters Arts, Biggerhouse Films, Doorstep Arts, Farflung Dance Theatre Company, Jamming Station, Turning Tides Project, and Daisi.

Sarah Farrow-Jones of Far Flung Dance Theatre and Dance in Devon says “the Young Creatives’ caterpillar performance is going to be thought-provoking as well as visually stunning. With the theme of loneliness and wellbeing running through the festival, our caterpillar is a metaphor for transformation; growing from its singular self into a creature of the community; from the lonely but hungry to the introverted chrysalis to a strong, free creature; part of a bigger picture or movement.


A Seminar for young people, parents, carers and professionals is planned in the Great Hall on Saturday 26th October with the purpose of exploring mental well-being and what that looks like for young people with learning disabilities. Event organisers are happy to announce that MP Sarah Wollaston, Jacqui Hodgson the Mayor of Totnes and Dr Kate Lovett – Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – will be in attendance at the seminar. To register your attendance at the seminar please email Tracey Hubbard

Ordinary Extraordinary centres on inclusivity and is offering free festival tickets to carers and is taking place at Dartington Hall on the 24th, 25th and 26th October 2019

Ordinary Extraordinary festival day tickets are £5 or £7.50 for the full festival pass.

Tickets and further information available at the Dartington Box Office 01803 847070 or online:

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