Hubbub Extends Festival Invitation To Local Communities And Appeals For Support

Hubbub Extends Festival Invitation To Local Communities And Appeals For Support

Hubbub, the pioneering Derby-based integrated theatre company, is expanding its  established virtual programme to the wider community with a Summer Festival to ensure more people stay connected and overcome feelings of anxiety and depression in these uncertain times.

Hubbub is an ensemble of learning disabled and non-disabled performers who are recognised as leading the way in the region by creating engaging and accessible physical theatre, using movement and original music to tell human stories.

From the start of lockdown, the theatre company launched ‘Hubbub At Home’ with regular  workshops, rehearsals and performance-sharing which have been a lifeline for participants and their carers.

Those involved in Hubbub’s unique Actor Training programme have also been able to continue their learning online and develop creative ideas for the company’s new performance piece ‘The Drum.’

However, the theatre company says that, as restrictions ease, many more vulnerable people are at major risk of being left without connection to express their feelings and maintain relationships as they need to continue to shield.

This is borne out by recent reports by The Office for National Statistics highlighting that one in 10 adults with a disability reported often or always felt lonely – compared with one in 20 non disabled adults.



The theatre company is therefore expanding the ‘Hubbub at Home’ concept with an online Summer Festival of events for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers to enjoy. This will include dance, drama, music, puppetry and an online Summer Dance Party hosted by Hubbub actors.

The ‘Hubbub At Home’ programme has been supported by Arts Council England’s Emergency Funding programme under the ‘Lets Create’ strategy and Foundation Derbyshire Emergency Funding, but Hubbub is also launching a crowdfunding initiative to support its future activity.

They are inviting people to become #agentsofkindness – reflecting Hubbub’s long-held belief in the positive power of random acts of kindness on everyone’s lives

Donors will receive hand-signed cards from actors and butterflies made by some of its members, alongside videos, songs and thank you messages.

Hubbub Artistic Director Jen Sumner said: “Our work both as a theatre company and our outreach work in schools and local communities enables learning disabled and non disabled people to work and perform together to gain professional and personal skills, independence, confidence and resilience.

“This has continued on virtual platforms throughout lockdown and has been a lifeline for adults in particular who have found their other moorings to society have been disconnected through cancelled work experience, volunteering and enforced isolation.

“As well as continuing weekly workshops for our regular participants which have now become an essential part of their week, The Summer Festival will reach out to even more learning disabled people and non disabled people across Derbyshire and the East Midlands.  

“Our aim is to offer an accessible and safe way to bring together people who are wanting to connect with a range of virtual activities that will help them feel happier and healthier – combating feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression in these turbulent times.


“From the start of lockdown, we have been determined that ‘Hubbub At Home’ would not be a digital sticking plaster. Rather than being a stopgap for our physical work, it has been a vital means of empowering individuals with learning disabilities to fulfil their creative potential in challenging circumstances. 

“I hope that Hubbub will come out of the other side of Covid-19 even stronger and able to carry on with blended activity – combining our in-person activities of actor training, community involvement and performance creation with online learning and sharing.”

Among the young adults who has benefited from ‘Hubbub At Home’ is a care leaver with learning disabilities.  Living in supported accommodation, he usually attends Hubbub Actor Training on a Thursday and Friday – enabling him to meet up with friends and providing a creative outlet and emotional support.

Hubbub provided him with a laptop so that he could see his friends online and enjoy theatre productions.  He also started one to one guitar sessions with the company’s music artist and joined a range of Hubbub At Home group sessions.

Derby-based support worker Jo said: “Hubbub Theatre and the move to online delivery has been a little miracle.

“Hubbub have found themselves as one of the few remaining pillars of learning disabled adults’ social life and emotional wellbeing.

“The pandemic has placed a huge pressure on learning disabled individuals to (reconfigure) rework their understanding of a world that can already feel so complex.  The individuals we work with struggle to socialise in the same way as non disabled people so easily do.

“Enforced social isolation has been hugely anxiety-inducing for those who crave connection, routine, in person encouragement and physical activity.  Hubbub Theatre creates a sense of community amongst participants – overcoming the loss of togetherness that has been distressing for many.”

Hubbub Theatre co-producer Simon Marshall concluded: “We hope that people will recognise the positive difference that ‘Hubbub At Home’ is making to the lives of individuals in our local communities and support our crowdfunding initiative to become #AgentsofKindness themselves.

“In a time where people seem divided and often put in a box, we believe that connection, communication and acts of generosity and kindness can make a difference on a personal, community and global level and this inspires all of our work.”

For more information about how to join the Summer Festival visit and email to join a 'Coffee and Catch up’ with Hubbub on Zoom on Friday 24th July between 11am and 12 noon to learn more about this and future plans.

To support the crowdfunding campaign by donating £5 a month and become an #AgentofKindness, please visit

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