Seizing the attention of year 9 and 10 pupils in acting performances and workshops in school would be tough for any actor, but Kris Brown, aged 31, takes leading roles, despite his physical and learning difficulties.
Serious illness in childhood left Kris with disabilities that led to bullying at school and to some of his teachers saying that education would be a waste of time. But with support from his family he got involved in the Headway Arts Company, which offers such learners support to develop their skills. As a result he overcame his shyness, lack of self-esteem and difficulty learning scripts.
Though previously hardly able to leave the security of his home, he now performs with other disabled actors. His most recent part in the company’s performance of Lives Worth Living, shown in secondary schools in the North East, was praised as a thought-provoking piece on how we treat people of differing abilities. It is so powerful that Performing Arts students at Northumbria University seek placements with the Headway Arts Company.
“Kris has inspired staff and service users at Headway Arts, school pupils and teachers and wider audiences,” says Headway trustee, Thomas Richardson. “His hard work and determination have transformed ‘Kris the uneducable’ in the eyes of some, to Kris the educator, mentor, teacher and craftsman.”