Ann's Story

Ann with students

Thirteen years ago, I knew nothing of Orpheus. Then one day, in 2001, I was asked if I would direct Orpheus students in their Christmas show. Their usual director was unable to do it and my name was given as someone who could help. From the moment I arrived and was taken into the Barn to meet everyone I was hooked. There were only about 13 apprentices then. I thought the show would just be a one-off but to my delight, a few weeks later, I was approached to see if I would take on another project.

For the next few years, I continued directing end of term shows as well as running weekly drama sessions. Then as Orpheus grew and developed, I began to step back from drama and have taken on different roles. For the last three years I have been working with Jenny Musselle on her script-writing. She has been an inspiration to me and I count it as a privilege to help her develop her creative talents.

Finally, my latest role is fundraising. I give talks to local groups, sharing my enthusiasm for Orpheus and raising awareness (and money!) for the place that has been so much a part of my life for so many years.

Clive's Story

Clive in a performance

Clive has been volunteering at Orpheus for six years. He started by gardening once or twice a week, but soon got hooked and offered more of his time, supporting students in sessions, helping them prepare lunch in their flats and helping with their organisational skills. Clive has also enabled several students to gain work experience, driving them to a local radio station and helping to write their show song sheets.

Orpheus productions would not be the same without Clive, who helps out with a variety of tasks during show weeks, including acting alongside students on stage – something he never imagined himself doing before his involvement with the centre!

Everyone at Orpheus loves Clive’s sense of humour and Orpheus is a much better place thanks to his involvement.

Emma's Story

The first time that I visited the Orpheus Centre I knew that it was a wonderful and brilliant place to work, live and learn in. I was not disappointed!

As a residential volunteer I was lucky enough to work with staff and students to create and enjoy the performing arts as well as support students in their independence skills development. I watched as students grew and developed in amazing ways and into incredibly young people over the year. My year, was a truly amazing year of discovery, confidence building and enjoyment with so many wonderful people who I met, from my newly acquired flatmates, to the students, staff and volunteers who I was lucky enough to work with regularly. The atmosphere of the Orpheus Centre is one of encouragement, hard work and enjoyment and it will always be an incredibly special place for me!

Tricia's Story

Tricia has been volunteering with Orpheus since 2007 and her variety of talents has allowed her to assist Orpheus in many different ways. Tricia helps the students in sessions, gives talks about Orpheus to local groups and assists in a variety of activities covered in the curriculum, her particular favourites being Literacy and Life Skills. Having volunteered with Orpheus for 10 years, Tricia has seen the Orpheus Centre grow significantly during her time here, and says “It has been a joy to see [the students] grow in confidence and to equip them with skills which will help them to live independently when they leave Orpheus”.  When she started at Orpheus, Tricia viewed it as a personal challenge due to the fact she “had never before had any dealings with this age or with people with such a wide variety of disabilities”. Since then, in 2016 Tricia was chosen along with another volunteer, Ann Lovelace, to represent the Centre at the Queen’s Lunch for volunteers.

“Working at Orpheus has enriched my life and widened my horizons. It is such a happy place, filled with laughter and joy.”

More Volunteer Stories

Stuart, who has an autistic niece, started volunteering as a Befriender, and now works with Fundraising, 'raising awareness and funds for Orpheus, as well as looking for partnerships with various organisations that could mutually develop over time'.

Laurence recommends 'jumping in head first and seeing what's possible'; following his time at Orpheus, as a recent University graduate, Laurence is now working in a 'live-music-tech' start-up in Kensington.

Atalanta learnt so much at Orpheus, in particular, 'everyone is useful'.

Judy found herself reunited with two former students from her days working as a teacher in Education Special needs.

It was a lot of work but it all came together. I felt very proud to be part of the team – Clive Edwards, volunteer