Paralympics the last piece in the Jigsaw for Aylesbury group to thrive

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The Jigsaw Theatre Company says it has seen a notable difference in attitudes since the Paralympics.

The Aylesbury-based group, which is performing its take on Mamma Mia this weekend, was formed in the 1980s to ensure those with special needs have access to the arts.

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Speaking ahead of Sunday’s show, co-ordinator Jan Wells said she expected to see a record crowd because of the London 2012 effect.

She said: “I have noticed an increased awareness of disability issues from younger people; they were so taken with the Paralympics.

“Disability awareness has been highlighted with the wonderful performances at the Paralympics. This production has allowed the group to have a voice and to show the people of Aylesbury what can be achieved when given the opportunity.”

The show, called Abba Cadabra, loosely follows the plot of Mamma Mia – however the play’s characters include members of the Royal family and Only Fools And Horses star David Jason, who lives near Wendover.

The 15-strong cast is aged 19-64 and has a range of conditions, from physical disabilities to autism.

Jan, 63, of Weston Turville, said: “At the start it looked as though there were people working in lots of different art forms. There was a painter, musician, a singing teacher and a recorder player.

“But the minute someone mentioned acting it seemed to strike a chord with lots of us and later we agreed to talk about that some more.

“The next meetings talked about the fact that we didn’t want to start a drama group or anything that could be seen as a time-occupier for disabled people. What we wanted was nothing less than a theatre company that would produce professional quality work. And the group is celebrating 25 years this year.”

Jigsaw Theatre Company presents Abba Cadabra on Sunday at 6.30pm at the Limelight Theatre. For more details visit www.qpc.org