603 Adults Waiting More Than A Year For Autism Diagnosis

Meta Auden of Spectra Sensory Clothing Photo – Francine Montgomery

The Health Minister, Robin Swann, has revealed that more than 603 adults are waiting for over a year for autism diagnosis.

Mr Swann was answering an Assembly Written Question from South Down SDLP MLA, Colin McGrath, who also revealed that in total 1,101 were currently waiting for assessment.

The Minister also said that a planned review of adult autism services planned to begin in April of this year had been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis but will be asking the Executive to bring forward an interim review early in 2021.

In terms of the current totals the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust alone has 346 people waiting in excess of 52 weeks for assessment, with only the Northern Trust not having anyone waiting beyond a year.

The written answer detailed how long were people waiting across four week intervals, as counted as of August 2020. Almost 200 have been waiting between 26-39 weeks.

Of the other trusts South Eastern Trust had 83 waiting for assessment more than a year, the Southern Trust 124 and the Western Trust 50.

Meta Auden, founder of Spectra Sensory Clothing reacted to the statistics: “The waiting times for an autism diagnosis are totally unacceptable and cause great distress for many.

“In the case of adults, they seem to be forgotten, and it has to be remembered that children with autism grow up to become adults with autism.”

Mr Swann was also asked for his plans to reduce the waiting times.

“People with Autistic Spectrum Disorder have access to a range of core HSC services,” he explained in his answer. “Support may be provided via GP and Primary Care in the first instance or referral onto services such as psychology or psychiatry, depending on assessed need.

“Access to other community services where relating to Mental Health or Learning Disability support are also available where appropriate, as are services provided through the community/voluntary sector.”

With regards to waiting times he said: “I am however fully aware of the rising demand for adult autism services within our health and social care sector and of the growing need for the standardisation of provision of services across the regional Trusts.

“This is why my Department has been liaising with the Health and Social Care Board and with the Public Health Agency to commence a review of adult autism services.

“Work on this review was due to commence in April of this year, but due to pressures on the system as a result of COVID-19, plans to commence this work had to be paused.”

He went on: “However, mindful of the challenges which COVID 19 has presented to families and people with autism, I have recently written to my Executive Colleagues to advise them of my intention to publish an interim autism strategy early in 2021 which will ultimately inform the development of a fully co-produced strategy later in 2021.

“It is intended that the work to review adult autism services will be undertaken as an action  within this strategy. Like its predecessor, this interim strategy contains cross-departmental actions recognising that adults with autism require a wide range of support across for example health, education, housing, and employment.”

Meta Auden said that lengthy waiting times for diagnosis are across all ages:

“One of the frequently asked questions on the forums here is ‘is there anywhere else, where I can get my child diagnosed’?” she said. Until diagnosis they cannot access many HSC services. 

“This means that the children are struggling at school, as no help without diagnosis.”

There has meant, according to the Spectra Sensory founder, many are having to pay.

“One customer has private health care but it does not cover the autism spectrum, so she is going for a diagnosis to a private clinic where the cost is nearly £400.00.

“There are not many who can afford this and considering that 85% of young adults with autism are unlikely to be in work compared to the rest of the young adult population the private route is not feasible.”

She added that, whilst her company caters for children, the range goes far beyond that.“We cater for all ages, our largest size maybe a 17/18, but they are large enough for many adults and indeed many adults also wear our t-shirts and shirts.”

Takeaway Association Warns 2,000 Jobs At Risk In Sector Following Latest Lockdown & Calls For Financial Packages To Be Expedited

Young woman preparing takeaway organic food inside restaurant during Coronavirus outbreak time – Worker inside kitchen cooking food for online delivery service – Focus on hands

The Northern Ireland Takeaway Association has warned that up to 2,000 jobs are at risk in the sector with the announcement of the latest raft of lockdown measures.

Director, Michael Henderson said that without immediate financial aid up to 25% of takeaways will close.

“With the latest restrictions now set to cut well into December the entire sector is at grave risk,” he said. 

“Without financial support for the takeaway sector we believe around a quarter of all takeaways in Northern Ireland will close resulting in a loss of over 2,000 jobs.

“Already we have seen a huge reduction in trade with the closure of hospitality with reduced numbers of walk-ins. This has resulted in a loss of 30% of the average trading.”

Mr Henderson said the restrictions in trading will also have a massive impact.

He added: “The arbitrary decision to not allow deliveries after 11pm has also had a devastating effect.

“This has produced an average loss of 40% with no explanation from the executive on why this was put in place even though the rest of UK and ROI currently have no restrictions on deliveries even at the highest level of lockdown.

“The 11pm restrictions means takeaways have to get all orders out on time to customers with a high standard of food quality; they would be limited to taking last orders around 9:45pm. s most takeaways within Northern Ireland do not open until 5pm this would only give businesses only 4hours and 45mins of trade time.”

Mr Henderson said that takeaways in Northern Ireland are having to deal with losing around 70% of average trade while being expected to pay all bills and staff wages with no financial support from the executive. 

“We believe our sector has been forgotten and left hung out to dry but our Executive.”

The NI Takeaway Association that the competition for trade has become more intense.

“Restaurants have now started, understandably, operating as takeaways which makes the market even more saturated.”

Restrictions on deliveries are to be reinstated on November 20 after the current easing from today. The NI Takeaway Association will be liaising with members to keep them up to date on the constantly changing situation.

Members looking for further information on this and other related subjects members can contact Michael Henderson direct on 07425846533 or michael@nitakeawayassociation.co.ukTo become a member go to >> https://www.nitakeawayassociation.co.uk/members-area

NI Festival of Writing Goes Online With 2020 Winter Programme

James Murphy, director of the Northern Ireland Festival of Writing & Simon Wood, Chairperson at NVTV launch the 2020 festival Pic by Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press.

Following on from the successful inaugural event in 2019 the NI Festival of Writing is launching an online programme of content to once again encourage and support writers who want to start or develop their skills.

Throughout November and December the free online content will include interviews with local writers and content creators, panel events, workshops and masterclasses.

Director of the festival, James Murphy, said that the festival intends to become even more successful in encouraging local talent.

“While we cannot repeat last year we have worked hard to make sure we have a rich programme that aims to help develop participant’s confidence,” he said. 

“We hope that what we have planned will educate, empower and improve literacy and communications skills.”

The 2020 NI Festival of Writing which has been developed in partnership with Belfast City Council, has launched a Crowdfunding campaign.

“Whilst the events will be free, in order to increase the number and variety of events held throughout the remainder of the year, Belfast City Council have kindly offered to match-fund us to a maximum of £5,000 if we undertake a crowdfunding campaign,” James explained. 

“We have designed a range of opportunities from donations from as little as £5 through to sponsorship opportunities from £100. We have currently raised just over £1,000 and we hope to double that by the end of the crowdfunder this week.

“We know that what we will be providing will make a real impact on participant’s lives through participation, learning and even the opportunity to showcase their work.”

The 2020 programme will include in-depth interviews with local, national and international writers; a range of practical writing and creative writing workshops, online book club and reading recommendations; panel discussions; and, a regular online writing retreat.

This year the festival has joined forces with local public service television channel NVTV to make the festival more accessible to people across the country.

Simon Wood, Chairperson at NVTV said: “Northern Visions is excited to be a partner in the Northern Ireland Festival of Writing this year. One of the pleasures for many of us during these challenging times, especially during lockdown, has been being able to get lost in a book and become acquainted with books we have forgotten we actually own.

“What’s so interesting about the Festival of Writing is that it is writing in all its forms so this is a real voyage of discovery.” 

Fans of the festival can see the main NVTV broadcast on Friday November 27 broadcasting on Freeview 7 (greater Belfast) and Virgin Media 159 (across Northern Ireland).

The festival will also be streaming sessions on Facebook and running a series of online workshop sessions as well as a range of other interactive events throughout November and December.

“In addition we will launch NI Festival of Writing’s very own podcast as well as interactive advice sessions with writers, agents and publishers,” said Festival co-founder Tina Calder.

“With the support of all including our festival partners NVTV, Oranga Creative, BAM magazine, The Secret Bookshelf and my own company Excalibur Press we will make this a success and look forward to having a further programme planned for the time when safer social gatherings can take place.”

To help support the festival the Crowd Funder page can be found here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-northern-ireland-festival-of-writingTo find out more at http://festivalofwriting.org

The Life Of An RUC Officer Told In New Book Crime, Comedy And Combat

Ex RUC officer and author William Clegg releases his book Crime, Comedy & Combat.

After serving for 21 years in the RUC William Clegg today releases his story of life in the frontline as a serving officer in his début book, Crime, Comedy and Combat.

From his earliest memories, through to joining the force in 1978 in Enniskillen William’s heartfelt telling of his and his colleagues experiences during some of the darkest days in Northern Ireland’s history.

William regards himself as privileged to have worked in and survived the challenges inherent in high risk, hostile, urban and rural environments throughout the province.

Now living in Indonesia he said the book was a way to explain his experiences.

“It is an anthology for people of all ages of how life changed for a young person prior to, during and subsequent to joining the RUC,” he explained. It is about how ‘we’ were during that bleak period, how we coped at that time and how the incidents and emotions resonate to this day.

“I feel that anyone, whether security services or others, will have a feel of true events, episodes, characters and emotions personally experienced by me.

Tina Calder of publishers Excalibur Press said that it was a privilege to bring William’s tale to the public.

“As we now live in relatively peaceful times we forget the horrors that were part of daily life,” she said. “William has been able to encapsulate the experiences of so many RUC officers who had the daily job of a police officer dealing with crime, whilst also under constant threat.

“No matter your allegiances this is the human story of that time, told compassionately.”

In Crime, Comedy & Combat William tells his story for people of all ages, how a young person’s life changed during the Troubles, joining the RUC, and the incidents and emotions that coloured his life.

Crime, Comedy and Combat, published by Excalibur Press is available from Amazon and excaliburpress.co.uk 

Dark Light Thrilling Conclusion To Terror Trilogy From James Murphy

Author James Murphy has released the final part to his crime thriller trilogy, Dark Light, on Excalibur Press.

Previous books in the series, The Rise of Terror and The Terror Within, earned praise from fans and reviewers alike.

Dark Light concludes the series with the Farset Investigations team forced to set aside previous differences to solve murders in Northern Ireland and save an abducted child in the US from the evil cult, The Enlightenment and prevent a killing spree in the name of their greatest nemesis, Terror.

“I’ve been thrilled by how well received the first two books have been and am delighted that so many people are eagerly anticipating this release,” said James. “I know that the shock factor of my endings have become a trademark of my writing.

“I hope that they will be happy with the conclusion but they should be warned that the shock value will be present in the last page as always.”

Dark Light is the conclusion of James’ Terror trilogy, he believes it works as a standalone novel.

“I have been very careful to construct each of the books in a format similar to that of a standalone,” he explained. “The result, each book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone, with each whetting the reader’s appetite to read the others.”

As James was completing Dark Light during the Covid-19 crisis, he admits it did affect the final product.

“Although the themes of identity and change run through all three books, the inspiration has evolved each time,” he said. “This time around, the inspiration reflects the moving on from a period of trauma and developing a new life. Partially written during lockdown, it was inevitable that adjusting to a new normal was going to be a feature. It was never a conscious one though.”

Publisher, Tina Calder of Excalibur Press said: “Since James joined Excalibur Press four years ago he has grown as an author. His books are a series of gripping tales linked together by a core plot line.

“We are absolutely delighted to be publishing the third book in the Terror Trilogy – Dark Light this month.

“Fans of the crime fiction genre will not be disappointed by not just this book but the entire series.

“Gripping, suspenseful and intense – Dark Light is definitely a standout book for me this year.”

Dark Light, published by Excalibur Press is available for pre-order at excaliburpress.co.uk

Belfast City Blues Festival Coming Back With A Bang In 2021

Bigger, better and set to be burgeoning with the best of music is the promise of Belfast City Blues Festival as the 2021 dates are confirmed.

The iconic festival will return to have the streets, pubs and clubs alive with the blues from Friday, June 25 to Sunday June 27.

Festival Director, Seamus O’Neill, pledged to bring a “bit of light in people’s lives” after the lockdown killed off live music from mid-March.

“It’s been so tough this year, but I think the prospect of live music is what we need,” he said.

“We are planning to make our 13th festival the best yet, bringing the best local, national and international talent to Belfast.”

The 2020 festival took place online, with people checking in from across the world, and while the festival has contingency plans should restrictions remain in place Seamus and the festival team are ready to return Belfast City Blues Festival come back in style.

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes during these very uncertain and trying times to create the best and biggest festival for our great city, its citizens and many friends around the world in 2021,” he said “Our mission is to bring back that smile once again that we see on people’s faces at our many gigs, and the connections and friendships that result and, of course, great music.”

And, his message to the musicians is “We haven’t forgotten you! We’re ready to welcome you back on stage to once again celebrate Belfast hosting one of the biggest blues festivals in the land.

“Our mission is to say, Belfast, we are back. Three days of great music with great people in a great city.”

You can play your part in making sure the festival continues to thrive.

“We created the 2020 online festival with no funding from sponsors or funders and so far we’re in the same position for 2021 as Belfast gets back on its feet.”

The festival is appealing for donations to keep the music alive. 

You can register for the festival to be kept up to date with developments and artist announcements or make a donation at https://bit.ly/3oH8NY8.

NI Scrubs Draws To A Close After Making 106,000 Items For Care Staff

NI Scrubs team (from left) Clara Maybin, Angeline Murphy, Chloe Dugan and Clare Caulfield. Pic: Kasia Rogowiec | Polka dot Photo

The mammoth effort of pulling together thousands of people to sew scrubs, scrub hats and gowns for hospitals, hospices, care homes and other caring professionals has drawn to a close with 106,000 items delivered to key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The brainchild of Clara Maybin at the start of the first lockdown, when nursing and care staff were facing shortages, it grew from an appeal to become an army of 9,000 sewers, including Great British Sewing Bee contestant, Angeline Murphy.

In addition a total of £75,000 was raised to purchase the material to make the items.

Now hospitals have said they have sufficient stocks but Clara believes NI Scrubs has started something great.

“The sheer sense of community we have created will last for a long time,” she said. “We have built a real sewing community in Northern Ireland where people have made friends and ask for sewing advice every day. It is a truly invaluable group to a lot of people, in so many ways.”

Angeline also believes the legacy will live on: “It was a great campaign that helped more than just the front line staff. It helped thousands of stitchers rediscover their skills, meet new friends and give back to society.”

It all started when Clara began collecting unused scrubs from dentists that were closing in lockdown.

“When I said I was doing that people started to say they could sew,” she explained.

“Overnight we had far too many people for the WhatsApp group and I had to set up a Facebook group

“The next day we had 80, the next week we had 800 and now we have nearly 9000.”

It was a challenge that consumed every waking hour for Clara.

“When I sit and think about it, it is madness,” she said. When I think of how tough it was it is very overwhelming.  Every day got harder and harder, as more messages came through it was very hard to manage. And getting fabric to people up and down the country was so hard during the lockdown.”

Angeline became involved initially to join the scrub sewing army, but then realised her TV appearance meant she could do more.

“I initially got involved to start sewing but realised that to make an impact I would be better suited to helping raise awareness of it from my profile on Sewing Bee and social media so I was able to get my followers on my pages to help,” she explained. 

And, while NI Scrubs is winding down Angeline wants to continue supporting the sewing community.

“I feel I have a duty to keep the stitchers together and use their skills for the greater good,” she said “I have formed another group NI Big Community Sew in line with the UK wide campaign to make face coverings for the vulnerable in society.”

As for Clara she said she now plans to rest, and can reflect on the wider benefits of NI Scrubs.

“The sheer sense of community we have created will last for a long time,” she said. “Not only have we helped front line staff, I have had several messages from those helping saying we have helped their mental health through lockdown, which is amazing.”

Angeline believes that it has also made a difference beyond the scrubs.

“Together we have made a big difference and all though seen as a dying art sewing is making a comeback,” she explained. “It also proved that when people work together great things can be achieved.”

Last Chance To Bring The Magic Of Theatre To Your Family At Home This Weekend

Northern Ireland-based children’s theatre company Cahoots NI’s latest show The University of Wonder & Imagination will end its successful run at the Belfast International Arts Festival this weekend.

Running until November 1 the immersive digital theatre experience will be delivered via Zoom direct to young audiences at home.

The University of Wonder and Imagination is an hour-long interactive digital theatre production that allows audiences to effectively direct the performance, based on their interaction with the performers. In this ambitious and innovative undertaking, Cahoots NI will broadcast from an extensive, purpose-built set in Belfast, where magic and illusion have no boundaries.

Limited to pre-booked audience numbers per performance, guests will assemble with their fellow University students and, led by the mysterious Professor Bamberg, will embark on a journey where nothing is quite what it seems. 

Starring actors Sean Kearns (Newry), Hugh Brown (Bangor), Philippa O’Hara (Belfast), Lata Sharma (Bangor) and magician Caolan McBride (Armagh) audiences will interact with lively lecturers, experience themed rooms filled with illusion and encounter problems and puzzles in an attempt to unlock magical powers and graduate with flying colours.

Speaking about the new production, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Creator/Director of The University of Wonder and Imagination, and Artistic Director of Cahoots NI, said: “The technology we are using for the production is intricate, but it will be seamlessly blended with physical sets and magical illusions. Our audiences haven’t seen anything like this from Cahoots NI before, and we believe it will be a fun-filled, thrilling experience for children, for their families and for our cast and crew to be a part of.” 

The University of Wonder and Imagination is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children. Since beginning operations in 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, critically acclaimed work for children including Under the Hawthorn Tree, Secrets of Space, Shh! We have a Plan and has toured its work internationally including in China and the USA.

For more information go to cahootsni.com or follow Cahoots NI on social media #UniversityofWonder #CahootsNI

To book your place go to https://bit.ly/CahootsUOWI 

NI Takeaway Association Calls For End To 11pm Delivery Restriction

The Northern Ireland Takeaway Association today (October 21) warned that the sector is facing devastation unless current restrictions preventing deliveries after 11pm are ended immediately.

Under the recent legislative restrictions delivery services must end by 11pm, resulting in losses, redundancies and potentially businesses being forced to close permanently.

A survey of members revealed that thousands of pounds are being lost every week, yet no financial aid is available.

“Members of the Takeaway Association are struggling as a result of this new restriction,” said Director, Michael Henderson. 

“We have been there throughout the current crisis, providing an essential service, especially to the hard working key workers who often work irregular hours.

“Yet our members are being told we have to close at 11pm, for the first time since this began.”

The 11pm closing means for takeaways to get all orders out on time to customers with a high standard of food quality they would be limited to taking last orders around 9:45pm.

Mr Henderson said that in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland no such restrictions are in place, even in the areas that are in the highest tier of lockdown.

“Previously the takeaway delivery trade were classed as essential workers which lead to the whole takeaway sector putting strict Covid-19 precautions in place spending hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of pounds to do so. By doing this the takeaway industry in Northern Ireland helped reduce the spread of Covid-19 with measures such as contactless deliveries and PPE equipment.”

Today the Takeaway Association has written to the Executive and MLAs to request that the 11pm delivery restrictions end in order to avoid damaging businesses. It has also sought urgent clarification to the financial package that may be offered that currently states ‘Cafe, pubs and restaurants that have been temporarily forced to close to limit their business to takeaway, delivery or outdoor service’.

Mr Henderson said that in response to a query from the Finance minister he was told that no financial aid was going to be made to the takeaway sector.

In an email to the NI Takeaway Association a colleague of Finance Minister Conor Murphy said: “I was speaking to the minister last night. He advised me that the legislation does not factor in takeaways firstly as they have not had to close, whereas restaurants and cafés do. In addition the legislation also deems them as not having lost as much custom through the legislation. The reduced delivery service is viewed as not being a hindrance to the businesses as there are no hospitality outlets (i.e bars and nightclubs) open and therefore the demand for takeaway food past 11pm is much lower than previously.”

Despite multiple attempts to meet with members of the Executive and several requests for clarification from the Executive press office Mr Henderson has said he no longer has a choice and must represent his members in the most public manner.

He added: “We were angered to learn that the attitude was that as takeaway and delivery services had been allowed to open previously they were not going to be included,” he said. 

“Furthermore, it has been communicated to us that as hospitality outlets were not open the view was that takeaway and delivery services would not need to be available as there would not be any passing trade.

“This is preposterous, and the minister and the Executive should reconsider to allow the takeaway industry to continue to deliver past 11pm as a matter of priority.”

Mr Henderson also urged members to react quickly to the changing circumstances.

“We are advising everyone in the takeaway industry across Northern Ireland to spend valuable time assessing their offering and ensuring all their marketing materials are up to date and listings on online delivery platforms are current and showcase the best of your menu,” he said.

The association has created a consultation package for new and existing members can receive advice.

“From pivoting your business into takeaway, improving your current offering and human resources to legal, financial, marketing and advertising we have industry experts ready to help businesses overcome the challenges ahead,” he explained.

Members looking for further information on this and other related subjects members can contact Michael Henderson direct on 07425846533 or michael@nitakeawayassociation.co.ukTo become a member go to >> https://www.nitakeawayassociation.co.uk/members-area

Bangor Actor Hugh Brown Stars In Cahoots NI’s New Online Show

Bangor born actor and performer, Hugh Brown, is set to star in Cahoots NI’s immersive digital theatre experience with the aim of bringing the magic and joy of theatre to young audiences at home.

The University of Wonder and Imagination is an hour-long interactive digital theatre production that allows audiences to effectively direct the performance, based on their interaction with the performers from the comfort of their own home.

In this ambitious and innovative undertaking, Hugh will be part of the Cahoots NI team broadcasting from an extensive, purpose-built set in Belfast, where magic and illusion have no boundaries.

Hugh said that he was excited to be taking part, and can’t wait until audiences get to experience it.

The whole vision behind the show is exciting and as usual with Cahoots there are high production values and a real commitment to good storytelling, character, magic, illusion, music and in this case online technology,” he said.

“As with all Cahoots shows all the ingredients are there to make world class theatre for young audiences, it’s just this time we are not on the traditional stage we are used to.”

The show will have it’s Northern Ireland premiere as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival running from October 22nd – 25th and 29th – November 1.

The 49-year-old is no stranger to the ambitious productions of the theatre company.

“For many years now I’ve been involved with the development of many Cahoots shows, either as an actor or also as a writer or librettist,” Hugh explained. 

“In this case the Artistic Director Paul Bosco McEneaney approached me to write some scenes and to develop a part for myself with him making it the best of both worlds.”

Limited to pre-booked audience numbers per performance, guests will assemble with their fellow University students and, led by the mysterious Professor Bamberg, will embark on a journey where nothing is quite what it seems.

Audiences will interact with lively lecturers, experience themed rooms filled with illusion and encounter problems and puzzles in an attempt to unlock magical powers and graduate with flying colours.

Hugh said: “A huge amount of effort is going into the development of this show on all levels. From writing and development, vision and production, technology and design there is a crack team of individuals working together to produce what I believe will be hugely entertaining and a theatrical revelation in these unusual and testing times.”

Hugh specialises in making theatre for young audiences, and his credits include a one-man show under the guise of Jitterbug Jackson, and has for more than 15 years been involved in the creation and performance of many shows by Cahoots NI.

His credits include writing, producing, directing and performing in a feature film in Cambodia, Inside The Belly Of A Dragon, and has been almost constantly involved with extensive productions.

“Before lockdown we toured in China for two months with the Cahoots NI show, Shh We Have a Plan that was an amazing experience” said Hugh.

“Since lockdown I have been doing a lot of writing and I created a video series on YouTube called Jitterbug TV which was designed to provide some entertainment and interactive fun for families looking for a little distraction and alternative to the pressures of home schooling.”

Speaking about the new production, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Creator/Director of The University of Wonder and Imagination, and Artistic Director of Cahoots NI, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the doors of the University of Wonder and Imagination for enrolment.

“Now, more than ever, we want to capture the sheer joy and wonder that theatre and live performance brings young audiences, something we so desperately miss being able to provide at this time. We have worked hard to create an experience that would act as a first step to bridge the gap between young people and live theatre that can be enjoyed at home.

“Developing this production has allowed us to explore a completely new channel through which to bring magic and illusion to children and their families via digital technology. The choices our audiences make live, during the event, will shape their unique theatre experience – and that’s hugely exciting for us.

“The technology we are using for the production is intricate, but it will be seamlessly blended with physical sets and magical illusions. Our audiences haven’t seen anything like this from Cahoots NI before, and we believe it will be a fun-filled, thrilling experience for children, for their families and for our cast and crew to be a part of.” 

The University of Wonder and Imagination is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the enormous challenges presented to the Arts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cahoots NI continues to offer audiences world-class children’s theatre with their latest show, The University of Wonder and Imagination, this Autumn.

“This latest show promises to be a wonder to behold! The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support this terrific production which will be enjoyed by many online, helping to bring great art to everyone.” 

Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children. Since beginning operations in 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, critically acclaimed work for children including Under the Hawthorn Tree, Secrets of Space, Shh! We have a Plan and has toured its work internationally including in China and the USA.

For more information go to cahootsni.com or follow Cahoots NI on social media #UniversityofWonder #CahootsNI