The creativity of young people with learning disabilities placed at the heart of the cultural life of Coventry and Birmingham, increasing its diversity and encouraging different ways of being: the OTI programme explores this possibility through a unique theatre practice called shystering that celebrates, challenges and transforms

Facts and Figures

Over 300 young people with learning disabilities are engaged in our current programme of work

Our work has received national and international recognition. 

We are a registered charity – you can donate directly to our work here


amazing, simple, effective, fun’

‘the results have far exceeded expectations: students have shown exceptional development.’

‘one of the most artistically inspiring experiences I have had’

‘we have seen stunning results in all our classes and we now see it as a core activity in our curriculum’
More here here


We have photograph gallery on the “Pinterest” website. To view the gallery,
click here


Within the OTI programme we understand that to help develop sustainable creative futures for young people with learning disabilities we need to work in close partnership with a wide range of organisations, in particular special schools and other arts organisations in both cities.

Birmingham Key Partner – Birmingham Hippodrome
We have worked with Birmingham Hippodrome for over six years now and are currently creating a three-year strategy to support and develop our partnership further. All our work with young people and in Birmingham special schools within the OTI programme is developed with Birmingham Hippodrome.  With Birmingham Hippodrome we are:
• working on long term projects and residencies with Queensbury, Baskerville, Selly Oak, Cherry Oak and The Pines schools
• supporting the work of One of a Kind Theatre group, which currently has 15 young people with learning disabilities
• establishing satellite performing arts groups around the city(in partnership with Freefall Dance Company)
• exploring work placements/apprenticeships/ employment opportunities for young people with learning disabilities
• developing a major production of Hansel and Gretel

Coventry Key Partners –The Herbert, Warwick Art Centre and the Belgrade Theatre
Through the OTI programme we have developed long-term projects with the sixth forms of three schools in Coventry – Alice Stevens, Baginton Fields and Sherbourne Fields. We are now exploring ways of engaging young people with learning disabilities in programmes of arts activities that will take place within the three arts organisations, working together to increase cultural provision in the city for these young people.

• With the Herbert we are developing media projects
• With Warwick Arts Centre we are looking at a range of opportunities particularly through dance
• With the Belgrade Theatre we are piloting the establishment of a theatre group similar to One Of A Kind

Other Partners
Open Theatre Company’s broader role is to advocate on behalf of young people with learning disabilities, their creativity and their right to contribute to cultural life of this country.  OTC aims to enhance further the real-life prospects of a fuller integration, participation in and contribution to the cultural life of their city and beyond by young people with learning disabilities by making connections and building bridges with a wide range of cultural organisations in Birmingham and Coventry and beyond.

OTC works through practical mentoring and consultancy, staff training programmes run in partnership with young people with learning disabilities, and by working strategically with a range of other organisations to catalyse and create cultural opportunity. Visit our 4in5 Manifesto site for more information about what OTC is doing in Birmingham.

OTC also advocates for the rights of people with learning disabilities through social media blogging and forum activity

Part of the @DawsonSchools mission is to "achieve excellence of the mind" and we couldn't be more excited to join i……

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Sometimes it still amazes me how much people are focused on the procedure when dealing with someone with a disability 1/2

the funniest part about the shirt before that i was joking about those being sold and she buys it lol