Acting Up! awarded £40,507 by Children In Need

We are delighted to announce that BBC Children in Need has awarded Riding Lights a grant of £40,507 over three years. This grant will fund our Acting Up! Youth Theatre which works with young people with special education needs and disabilities here in York.

Acting Up! works specifically with young people with special education needs and disabilities. This means that to run Acting Up! youth theatre sessions it requires youth theatre practitioners who are uniquely skilled at working with these young people, as well as a much larger number of staff per participant. The BBC Children in Need funding makes it possible to run the Acting Up! classes with the high level of specialist teaching support needed for these pupils.

The security of funding over three years gives a continuity within which the students can gradually grow in confidence and build close friendships. Kelvin Goodspeed, Acting Up!’s director, and our other youth theatre practitioners find that the social aspect of Acting Up! is extremely important in the lives of our young people who often find it very difficult to form friendships. With three secure years ahead of us we can plan bigger and better productions and really begin enable our students to achieve their ambitions.

The youth theatre had previously been funded by Children in Need, but this funding ended in 2014. We’re also incredible grateful for the support of the Ed de Nunzio Charitable Trust, a local charity that has supported Acting Up! in the interim.

Raising A Production Fund

Acting Up! Logo

The one thing which the Children In Need grant doesn’t cover is a production budget for Acting Up! Therefore at Members Day we announced a campaign to raise a production fund for the company. This will allow Acting Up! to add set design and a greater range of props, costumes and technical equipment to their performances. These additional elements will greatly enrich the young people’s experience of creating theatre in a professional environment.

We’ve already raised £431 of our £2000 target at Members’ Day (Once again, a huge thank you!).

Could you help us raise the rest, either by donating or telling others? Anyone can donate to the production fund on our just giving page at