The Orpheus Centre is an independent specialist college in Surrey that believes disabled people should have the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers. They aim to equip young disabled people with the skills and confidence they need to live independent and fulfilling lives. By inspiring and empowering their students to achieve their ambitions they have become a centre of excellence in performing and visual arts. The students have performed at the House of Lords, the Royal Albert Hall and venues across the UK and worked with schools, prisons, community groups and businesses to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes. In 2018 they are celebrating their 20th anniversary year.
Sir Richard Stilgoe, OBE, DL
Richard Stilgoe has spent fifty years as a performer and writer in all forms of the performing arts. On television he appeared on Nationwide, That’s Life and several series of his own. On stage he toured for many years with his one-man show and subsequently his two-man show with Peter Skellern. He wrote lyrics for Cats, Starlight Express and The Phantom of the Opera, music and lyrics for Bodywork , Brilliant the Dinosaur, ‘Orpheus – the Mythical’ and the libretto for the community operas Road Rage and The Freedom Game. His broadcasting work has earned him the New York Radio Festival Gold Award, three Monaco Festival Prizes and the Prix Italia. In 1997 he founded the Orpheus Centre in Surrey, where young disabled people prepare for independent living through a series of performing arts courses. Richard was knighted in the Jubilee honours list of 2012.
Arts Educational School
ArtsEd has developed over the years and today their musical theatre training is recognised as the best in the UK. Their acting for film and TV training has been praised for its innovation and the day school is the highest ranking performing arts school in the UK. Based in Chiswick in West London, they play a vibrant role in their local community. Many local residents see shows, enjoy training and use the theatre facilities each year. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber became President in 2007, following in the footsteps of Dame Alicia Markova and heralding an auspicious new era for ArtsEd.