For those who missed it, ITV’s Surprise Surprise arranged a very special surprise for Penni Bubb, with a little help from a few of the many parents and teachers whom she has inspired over the past nine years after setting up Mushroom Theatre Company. You can view the full programme on ITV Player, but the following extract is also available on YouTube
STATUS – Restricted until 20:00 UK-time Sunday 22 September 2013
Local dance teacher, Penni Bubb was recognised for her contribution to the community by Surprise Surprise this week. Penni, who founded Mushroom Theatre Company (MTC) nearly 10 years ago, was nominated by one of her students, Sam Burling.
ITV had been in correspondence with staff at MTC since February and filming had been arranged on the pretext that it was for a potential documentary programme. Penni may have suspected that there was something afoot, but nothing prepared her for the surprise that the team had planned.
She was whisked away back stage and later reappeared, performing with the cast of the West End production of Mama Mia!
The staff, students and parents/carers at Mushroom Theatre Company wanted Penni to know how much they appreciate the hard work that she has put into the company since 2004. As a fully inclusive theatre company, MTC integrates able-bodied performers alongside disabled children, or those with special needs. Penni works tirelessly to promote the social and therapeutic benefits of performing arts. MTC’s sister organisation, Equal People is the fundraising arm of the business, and the aim has always been to have their own theatre which would be totally accessible to all.
Over the past few years, Penni has been searching for a building that would be suitable to convert.
This has proved to be an almost impossible task, and Penni began to make plans to refurbish the existing premises. Unfortunately, being a mushroom shed, this building presents many obstacles to providing a fully inclusive service. Refurbishment is still an option, but the search for new premises is on-going, and has recently brought some exciting possibilities. Any refurbishment of the existing premises or adaptation to a new building will require a great deal of planning and work. MTC would welcome enquiries from any local business/individual that would be willing to provide quotations, services or sponsorship.
Penni makes it quite clear that although she was recognised by the ITV programme, everyone at MTC works together to ensure that children and young adults have the opportunity to enjoy performing arts.
Penni says ‘It was a wonderful, unexpected and exciting experience appearing on the show and I would like to thank Amanda Hart and all the staff and my family for working so hard to make it possible. However, Mushroom Theatre Company is and will always be a team effort and my staff and helpers work way beyond the call of duty and I could never thank them enough for what they do for me and the students at MTC’ .
Penni can be contacted through the website: www.mushroomtheatre.co.uk