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> > > The Heroes say Goodbye

6 March 2008

Chairman Nick Massey bids a fond farewell

Photo of The Heroes on stage

The Heroes on stage live at The Lowry Studio Theatre, Salford Quays

The Heroes started out in 1998 with a grant of less than £800 from The Community Foundation for Greater Manchester. The group made a visit to a recording studio intended to last just a couple of hours! Nobody could have envisaged the session would be so enjoyable, and the recording so successful, that those involved would discover inclusion and set out on a quite remarkable and memorable journey together.

Over the last 10 years The Heroes have performed at some of the worlds best known venues and become widely recognised and highly regarded as the UKs most exciting and inclusive music performance group. Since day one, The Heroes have described themselves as 'nothing more than a pop group' and they wouldn't have it any other way! Despite this rather simplistic view, they were soon being referred to as 'a fine example of inclusion.' Whatever opinion, The Heroes soon found themselves capturing imaginations' with vibrant performances, taking a very direct and often loud and proud approach that served to attract interest and respect in equal measure. By delivering a clever combination of hard hitting pop music fused with strong social awareness messages, the group began creating high energy entertainment and equally motivating situations,alongside building a wide and enviable support base that quickly spread across the globe.

Unable to accommodate a growing demand from people wanting to join as members, the group began to explore and develop theatre shows that incorporated a wide variety of communication forms alongside recognising the differing needs of different people simultaneously. A sign interpreter (Andy Higgins) was recruited and presented as an integral performing member of the group! This was something rare in the UK at the time and a concept many arts based performance companies are only just beginning to experiment with. These theatre productions also incorporated pastel shade stage lighting to provide sensory experiences alongside song sheets and concert programmes that featured clear language and large font print. The results were highly entertaining and equally ground breaking.

Access All Areas

The Heroes on stage

The Heroes on stage live at The Lowry Studio Theatre

With 3 successful theatre productions and 4 CD albums spanning a decade, The Heroes have gone on to deliver many exciting and thought provoking performances at events attracting more than half a million people since 1998. They have also become known to more than 5 million people across the UK and many millions more worldwide.

The Heroes first CD album 'Access All Areas' attracted global support, generating interest in 33 countries spanning five continents and the group have managed to maintain their appeal, sustaining a reputation as a top quality performance group and true catalyst of inspiration. Delivering unique and vibrant, high calibre, big impact entertainment experiences, time and time and time again.

The message board on www.heroesproject.org.uk is full of positive comment from people of all walks of life, paying tribute to this groups simplicity and overall impact.

The Heroes also used their theatre shows as a platform to enable other disability arts practitioners to hone and develop their skills. Generating interest in, and support for other groups, individual performers and disability arts generally. They have always promoted, encouraged and influenced the adoption of inclusive activities for anyone expressing a desire to participate by setting high standards and leading by example with an uncomplicated demonstration of what can be done.

Following development of their inclusive theatre experiences, the group also provided the inspiration behind the establishment of city based inclusive Club Night experiences across the North West of England. FROGTASTIC Club Nights have become hugely popular amongst the learning disabled community and their friends, now operating successfully in Manchester and Liverpool and attracting in excess of 3000 visitors annually to enjoy what are popular and thoroughly inclusive experiences.

Over the last few years The Heroes have also developed The Heroes Challenge, a life-skills based accreditation scheme which actively encourages others to become better equipped and positive about their own lives, intentions and ambitions. Twelve organisations now operate the challenge scheme and to date, more than 400 certificates have been awarded.

The Heroes have not only built a reputation for delivering a powerful and positive experience. They have also inspired a host of inclusive activities and opportunities that will continue to engage and influence many more people as The Heroes Project continues to deliver the groups legacy of shared activities for all to access and enjoy.

The Heroes first performance was at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester where 18,000 people witnessed their debut gig at Music for Life – (a concert subsequently televised and featuring many top groups and solo artists). From Arenas and Stadiums to Parks and International Festivals, including headline performances in Trafalgar Square, The Heroes have maintained their status and relished the big occasion for a decade.

After ten successful years, The Heroes remarkable journey will come to a natural end in March 2008 with a series of 10th Anniversary Concerts at The Lowry Theatre – Salford Quays, to celebrate and conclude the performance activities of this quite remarkable group of people. The group are very proud of their achievements and also of the fact that they will end their journey in very much the same way as it started in 1998. Together!

The group would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their interest and wonderful support over the years and also for the continued support of Heroes inspired events and initiatives into the future.

Calling the 'Melody Makers'

Do YOU fancy joining a great new Group?

Heroes on stage

The Heroes on stage

The HEROES 'inclusive' pop group was established in 1998 following a trip into a recording studio and ended up entertaining and inspiring audiences across a decade. The multi-award winning group, whose members represented both the disabled and non-disabled communities recently disbanded after performing at some of the worlds most popular venues including The MEN Arena, St. Georges Hall and Trafalgar Square.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, the group's founders 'The Heroes Project' want to inspire a new initiative that will provide people with the opportunity to enjoy the thrill and experience of recording and performance, with a view to developing as performing artists.

Initially, 'The Melody Maker Experience' will involve auditioning and recording and may evolve into taking part in real concert performances at credible events depending on the individual talents of participants.

Anyone interested in being considered for one of the available 'Melody Maker' places can attend an easy going audition session on Sunday 1st June 2008. Greg Beckett one of 'The Heroes' founder members said “We have already piloted this idea and identified four great 'Melody Makers', like Martin Finn from Atherton in Wigan and Carly Ryan from Moston in Manchester, they are just brilliant! This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in recording and performing and who knows, if things work out, our new recruits may just become permanent members of 'The Melody Maker Experience'! It's a fantastic opportunity and even the auditions will be a great experience.

Auditions will take place at New Century House, Corporation Street, Manchester on Sunday 1st June from Midday to 4pm, with auditions being held on a strictly 'First come – First served' basis.

If you can sing or just want to have a go and would be interested in attending for an audition please report to New Century House Reception on Corporation Street in Manchester from 12 Noon on Sunday 1st June.

For more information contact, Terry Snowden, The Heroes Project, 1st Floor – Beswick House, Beswick Row, Manchester M4 4LA

Phone: 07946 424075

www.heroesproject.org.uk

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