6th Jul, 2022

Homeless man with asperger's had life turned around by Coventry theatre company

Felix Nobes 25th Mar, 2018

A YOUNG homeless man with Asperger’s has had his life turned around thanks to a Coventry theatre company.

Lewis Ford is a member of Ego Performance Company and has seen his confidence and acting skills develop after joining its ‘Bold As Bard’ Shakespeare theatre workshop, created for young people with disabilities.

The 22-year-old was introduced to Ego by the homeless charity Crisis after receiving support from the organisation.

He previously found it difficult speaking to those he didn’t know, but is now playing Hamlet in the performance company’s production of Two Weddings and a Funeral.

Lewis also won a place on the BBC Class Act course, a television course for disabled actors.

He is one of just 30 people selected to take part from 400 applicants and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has requested to see tapes of him performing.

Lewis said: “I’ve been a frustrated actor since before I started performing, because in school it was always the same popular people who would get the parts in the plays.

“When I was homeless I became very isolated – a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to talk to anyone I didn’t know, but drama helps you build your confidence and joining Bold As Bard gave me something to look forward to.

“The members of Ego and Bold As Bard are people of all ages and backgrounds and I love being a member.

“I’d never acted Shakespeare before but always thought the language was amazing.

“Bold As Bard has also opened a number of doors for me, including the BBC Class Act course.

“It was very intensive but a tremendous experience which I learnt so much from and still keep in touch with some of those who took part.”

Bold As Bard was launched last year and was made possible thanks to a £75,000 grant from Heart of England Community Foundation, a specialist grant-giving organisation in Coventry which awards funding to community projects across the region.

The funding is being delivered over three years through the Foundation’s Jumping Through Hoops fund, which supports young people’s groups in the city.

Lewis is now working with Crisis to form his own charitable theatre group, Underground Lights, which will cater for vulnerable adults.

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