A member of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, Joseph Harrington, has been presented with the 2016 John Hyland Award, given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the work of CFYT.
John Hyland was a Trustee of the Theatre, and secretary and then Chairman of the Theatre's Society. He and his wife Sue Hyland, who alongside Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Director of LEAP Dale Rooks presented Joseph with his award on Saturday, were responsible for setting up the theatre’s audio description facility. John was a teacher who both recognised and valued the contribution young people make to Chichester, especially through their involvement in the arts. An award is given in his memory each year to the CFYT member who best embodies the spirit of what the youth theatre is all about and who shows a genuine commitment to supporting the work of both CFYT and Chichester Festival Theatre as a whole.
Joseph Harrington has been a CFYT member for four years and is a committed member of CFYT’s Friday Late group, a session specifically for members who have additional needs.
Director of LEAP Dale Rooks said: ‘Joseph is both caring and encouraging; is always happy to try new things and inspires others to do so with his gentle and supportive approach. His creativity is one of his great skills, and one that he freely shares with those around him. He is happy to lend a hand with anything that needs doing, throws himself fully into any project he is a part of and is constantly eager to push himself and achieve more.’
Joseph has been involved in the making of an advocacy film celebrating the work of the CFYT Friday group and helping to recruit new members for the Horsham-based group for young people and adults with disabilities; he helped to create A Diverting Tour, a public promenade performance piece devised by members of the CFYT Friday group in response to the ReNEW project; was actively involved in the planning and delivery of a public tour of CFT, which ran alongside the relaxed performance of A Christmas Carol for individuals, groups and families on the autistic spectrum, with sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability; and has also carried out volunteer work as a digital archive assistant and as tour assistant within the Learning, Education and Participation department.