The Dukes Inclusive Theatre programme is an embedded approach to participatory arts access for a broad spectrum of needs; with progression routes for participants into delivery roles, industry placements to share learning and training for practitioners.

We have long-standing programmes of work with young people and adults with learning difficulties (Shattering Images & Red Bananallama); explore British Sign Language integrated performance (Dukes Deaf Drama); and currently pioneer a national project for people experiencing dementia (A Life More Ordinary).


Our pioneering project, ‘A Life More Ordinary’, gives people living with dementia and memory loss more choice, more control and greater access to leisure and cultural activities at The Dukes in ordinary, everyday settings. The Dukes offers regular film screenings and creative workshop activities, creating a supportive, caring experience for loved ones and families to enjoy together.

The programme responds to research by Age UK Lancashire, entitled ‘Linking Communities’ in 2012. This research highlighted the need for more inclusive activities for people living with dementia and their family members who often exclude themselves, or feel excluded from the sort of events in which they had previously participated together.

Central to ‘A Life More Ordinary’ is building a community of interested and involved participants, in a specially adapted environment.  The intention is that people can feel able to come to an ‘ordinary’ social event, alongside members of the public.

To read more about A Life More Ordinary please Click Here


Year One

Year Two

For more information on how to get involved in A Life More Ordinary please email our Inclusive Film and Theatre Officer, Gil Graystone, at



Shattering Images is an inclusive drama group with an emphasis on building confidence, self-esteem, exploring skills, finding your voice and having fun. We work over three terms to create an original high quality production in a person centred way. The first term is an exploration of themes, development of character and an exploration of plotlines. The second term delves more deeply into the rehearsal process and the third term sees the realisation of a professional production which is open to the public and schools groups.

Inclusion is about a sense of belonging, of feeling valued and respected for who you are. It’s about supportive energy and commitment. It’s a dynamic room full of people taking risks and doing something new. Inclusion is empowerment and about making theatre buildings a creative home for participants.
Jilly Sumsion, Programme Leader

In the future I would like to be recognised as an artist. Not an autistic artist or an artist with autism. Just an artist. Thank you.
Josie, Shattering Images Participant

We’ve seen a significant increase in everyone’s confidence and ability. Two students in the current group have already seen a massive improvement in just a few months – they came in shy and unsure what to expect, but the minute there is positive feedback we see that guard come down in a way it wouldn’t in a school setting.
Marti, Teacher

A scene from Imagine

Dukes Deaf Drama is a community group for users of British Sign Language, run in partnership with Deafway and UCLAN. Two original pieces have been made so far and toured extensively around community venues in the North West:

Imagine looked at two brothers during WW1- one Deaf, one hearing – who both want to fight for King and country. Our current play, Sailing Away is based loosely on the life of Gerry Hughes – the first Deaf person to sail around the world, solo.

Rehearsals are in British Sign Language. When there’s a mixture of signing and voicing it creates an imbalance. The pieces we make are make are entirely signed and it is an ensemble performance.
Jilly Sumsion, Programme Leader

It’s a wonderful opportunity to be creative, to be a member of the team, using sign language as an art form in itself. It’s similar to VV (Visular Vinacular) for its creative expression. It’s not about following a script and being rigid – it’s about improvising and seeing what comes from it.
Richard, Participant & Assistant Director

Interested? Please contact our Creative Learning department at 01524 598522.

Elspeth J Charitable Trust Deafway Logo Print UCLanLogo cosign

For adults with additional needs

Music, Poetry, Comedy, Dance, Illustration, performance and all things creative for our weekly Redbananallama group. Participants are given opportunity to express themselves creatively and make friends whilst having fun on a Monday morning.

September 2019 – July 2020

£84 per term

Application window is open until Wednesday 28 August – to apply click here.

Please also fill out an additional access form and had in with the application form.

The Dukes is an Arts Award Supporter and Centre and if you are aged 5 – 25 you can gain an arts award as part of your youth theatre course. Click on our Arts Award tab for further details.

We also have a limited number of bursaries available to support those with financial barriers to participation, as part of our Creative Opportunities programme. Please click here for further details.

The Dukes is an Arts Award Supporter and Centre and we offer Arts Awards as part of our Redbananallama programme. Click here for more details.

Click on the Dukes 2018/2019 Weekly Schedule for information about session times.

Click on the Dukes 2018/2019 Timetable for information about term dates.



Now for adults aged 40+

The other half of our Intergenerational group, in PrimeTime adults are given the opportunity to make new friends, develop performance skills and create a brand new piece of drama alongside our Junior Actors group of 15 and 16 year olds.

Please email to find out more.

Click on the videos below to see what the 2017/2018 Junior Young Actors and Primetime group produced last year.

Listen to the performance: