Performance Academy

In September 2021 Mind the Gap launched its updated and improved Performance Academy training course for adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Performance Academy students can expect an interesting, challenging and exciting experience that will enable them to learn new skills:

  • The teaching is really high quality, and is led by experienced people who work in the creative industries as makers, performers, tutors and workshop leaders.
  • Everything is based around making sure the interests, ambitions and access needs of students are met – with dedicated learning support workers in every session.
  • Training takes place in our three studios that are kitted out with everything a performer could possibly need, and where everyone can be sure of a warm welcome.
A group of actors take part in a workshop while wearing blindfolds

Tailored to the needs and interests of students with a learning disability and autism, it’s the most in-depth training experience of its kind in the UK. This new offer builds on Mind the Gap’s experience and success of running training programmes through our Academy since 1998. Some elements of the course are validated through our partnership with York St John University.

What will you learn?


The Performance Academy training is based around three main skills: theatre-making, dance and music. All students will be encouraged and supported to develop their understanding and experience in these areas.

This makes for a solid foundation to enable individuals to progress to future opportunities including working in the creative arts. This also builds life-skills like teamwork, good communication and confidence.

A group of people dancing against a black background. A white man with curly brown hair is leading them.

Over three years students will develop skills in classic and contemporary theatre, dance techniques, music production, and music composition (like song-writing). Students will learn dance choreography skills, explore physical theatre, develop skills in devising theatre and participate in workshops led by people who work in the arts.

On the Performance Academy training course students will learn by doing, guided by specialist teaching and learning support staff.  Mind the Gap has worked in partnership with York St John University to explore new ways of recognising the skills and learning of people with a learning disability and autism.

Over the lifetime of the training course each student will create a portfolio to record their learning and achievements. This will enable staff to assess each student’s progress, and some elements of the training course will be validated by York St John’s University.

A white man with glasses and short blonde hair is singing and clapping. In the background is a blurred group of people who are watching him.

“The validation from York St John University really cements the company as a beacon for learning disabled creatives and further strengthens our reputation within the arts and theatre industry.”

Charli Ward, Academy Director

Applications for the Performance Academy are closed as the course is now full. Take a look at some of our one day courses by clicking the button below!
One Day Courses
The Performance Academy programme is validated by York St John University

York St John University Logo