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A message from our Patron, Michael Collie

It is a very great honour to hold the role of patron of Side by Side Theatre Company Stourbridge – a position that allows me to attend rehearsals, watch superb performances and get to know a wonderfully talented group of people.

Not surprisingly, Side by Side Theatre has itself been honoured with numerous awards over the years – not only from competitions and festivals, but also with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and with an MBE for the group’s artistic director and founder, Sue Wallin.

It’s also achieved superb reviews over the years, by theatre critics who have seen shows in places as diverse as Dudley, Stratford-upon-Avon. Edinburgh and Prague and been, quite simply, stunned by the talent and production values they have encountered.

But the true success of the Company is evident in a much more valuable way than awards or reviews could ever achieve.

Side by Side is made up of people who experience a number of extra difficulties in life. For some it’s their health, for some it’s their ability to get around, for some it’s their communication skills – something many of us take for granted.

Sadly, the biggest potential stumbling block for them … is us. We are a society that increasingly seems to value the loud, the flashy, those who can ostentatiously brag of their achievements. Sadly we are a society that seems to see “survival of the fittest” as a mantra for life.

Since 1997, Side by Side has fought back, showing society that those it so often undervalues have so much to give. So much talent. So much humour. So much dedication. And so much that should humble the rest of us.

All they sometimes need is a bit of help. Side by Side offers that starting point, such that the rest of their success, awards and accolades are down to the members themselves.

I sincerely invite you to support the actors in whatever way you can – financially, with your time, by spreading the word … and by enjoying some superb theatre, which has a very clear message: we can succeed.


Patron, Side by Side Theatre Company



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