Over the years, Side By Side Theatre Company has achieved many awards for their unique and original performances. We have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2016, each time achieving excellent reviews. Our dedicated cast and crew produce amazing shows that bring us wide acclaim.
In 2014, the company continued its aim of challenging perceptions of learning difficulties, by creating Illyria on Sea, based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as its headline show. The play was performed at Stourbridge Town Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe to excellent reviews.
Susan Wallin, from Side By Side Theatre Company, was awarded the MBE in February, followed by an invite to the Queen's Garden Party in July as the company was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntry Services (The MBE for volunteers). Please view the Halesowen News article marking this honour. A production of Prodigal Son was staged at Stourbridge Town Hall in June.
Founder and Artistic Director, Susan Wallin, was honoured as a Diamond Champion by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at St James’s Place in November 2012. The 2012 production, Dream On, was part of the Royal Shakespeare's Open Stages Project and the company performed a short extract from the play at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Dream On was also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2012.
Actors David Atkins and Mark Slater were awarded long service medals by NODA (National Operatic & Dramatic Association) for 15 years of service. Sarah Field, Judy Alcock, Theresa Byrne, Paul Taylor and Jason Hinchliffe, received medals for 10 years’ service.
In May 2011, we took our production, Who Is Pilgrim? to perform at the Prague Fringe Festival, where we were invited by the British Ambassador to the British Embassy. The season ended with performances at Stourbridge Town Hall in June 2011.
In March 2010, we won 5 awards in one weekend at the Dudley and Worcestershire Theatre Festivals.
We won 'Best Musical on The Fringe', for our production, The Bird, from 'Fringe Report'.
We had 5-star ratings at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for our production of Tempest in a Tea Cup.
We took our production, Worlds Apart, to Motala in Sweden.
Our 2015 production saw the cast transported to Neverland to help the fairies regain their treasure. SBSTCS were chosen for a second time to be part of the RSC Open Stages Project. In June 2015, they performed scenes from ILLYRIA-ON-SEA at the RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, while still rehearsing for their main production, THE TRIAL OF PETER PAN, to be performed at Stourbridge Town Hall less than ten days later.
"Performed by the award-winning Side by Side Theatre Company for actors with learning disabilities, Illyria on Sea takes Twelfth Night to a 1950s seaside resort in this refreshing and enchanting interpretation of Shakespeare’s carnivalesque comedy.
The joy in this Twelfth Night is in the little touches – the supporting cast in Pierrot garb, the imaginative puppet ship-wreck, Malvolio’s yellow stockings. This adaptation is spectacularly original, yet remains true to its source throughout" - Amber Segal.
Read the whole review on the Broadway Baby website
THE SCOTSMAN: "This is one of the most beautifully conveyed and imaginatively realised versions of Shakespeare's fantastical play The Tempest that I have seen in a long while. Director and choreographer Susan Wallin is clearly an exceptionally gifted theatre visionary and uses the actors' ideas and choreography to create a uniquely inspiring celebration of their humour, passion and talent." - Sally Stott
Read the whole review at The Scotsman website.
THE PUBLIC REVIEWS: "During the Edinburgh Festival you are always looking for the hidden gems, the shows you don’t plan to see that turn out to be truly wonderful - this is one of those shows. The production is superb regardless of that fact that the cast are disabled, but the fact that they are and have overcome their challenges to perform it makes experiencing it even more special - a truly outstanding production."
- Deborah Klayman
“In the course of the Brighton Fringe you see theatre in so many different forms from sketch-comedy to experimental dance. Side by Side Theatre Company do something quite unique. In The Bird, they use theatre to produce a sense of community, inclusivity and fun, elements which are sadly found to be in short supply in other productions in festival.”
- From The Fringe Review website - The Bird