Through the company and work we represent diversity and the human condition in the world as it is



November 2023

Concept: Dark Horse ensemble
Light design: Tracy Gibbs
Visuals: Ben Glover
Stage design: Rebecca Constable
Planning & Designing: members of the community

Immersive club night based on our smash hit stage show #Unit21 which toured across the north of England in March 2023.

It’s Ally’s 21st birthday party and YOU are invited. Come to the party, dance the night away with Ally and her friends as she catapults into adulthood taking you and the dancefloor with her. How far you follow, is up to you.

After Party has been created by learning disabled artists for all adults. You can expect DJs , dancing, performers, visual projections, an accessible venue, quiet space, a fully stocked bar and GOOD VIBES.

After Party was created in partnership with HOOT, Party People Project, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Beautiful Octopus Club & Music in Kirklees


June 2023

They thought it was the end of the world, but it was just the beginning.

To Be Us was created by Dark Horse ensemble of actors and commissioned by Holmfirth Arts Festival for the Forces of Nature edition of the festival.

Rooted in physical storytelling and driven by a classical score, To Be Us explores the importance of ‘us’ and the value of connection to both people and planet. Featuring integrated audio description throughout.

Watch it online here.



For anyone who is, or might one day be, an adult.

February – March 2023

Director: Amy Cunningham
Stage & Costume design: Pip Lickenby
Digital Production & Light design: Penny Cunningham
Animation: Richard Littlewood

It’s Ally’s 21st birthday.

It’s time to down your drink, get on the dance floor and go ‘out out’ with best friend Pip.

As the night descends into a haze of expectations vs. reality will it be game over for Ally, or should she just stop playing?

Featuring an ensemble of 9 exceptional actors with learning disabilities and rooted in physical storytelling, Dark Horse promises a bold and entertaining show accompanied by integrated animation and captioning, an original electronic soundtrack, and the option to participate virtually from your seat.

Watch the livestream here.


March 2021

Director: Amy Cunningham
Digital Producer: Penny Cunningham

#OutBreakOut – an anthem for escape after a year locked in.

A trilogy of short films inspired by poetry, created, developed and shot in lockdown by an exceptional cast of actors with learning disabilities.

We invite you to #BreakOut from the monotony, rise above the #OutBreak and hope for tomorrow.

#OutBreakOut is a Dark Horse Theatre production commissioned by the Huddersfield Literature Festival for their 2021 festival.

All three films are available to watch on Dark Horse Theatre’s YouTube channel.

#OutBreakOut Part One: No Man is an Island.


January 2021

Director: Amy Cunningham
Animation and Sound: Richard Littlewood
Digital Producer: Penny Cunningham

Three different people, three different stories, three different experiences of becoming an adult.

A Dark Horse Theatre production, with dynamic animation and music by Richard Littlewood. #FutureLoading platforms the voices of three adults with learning disabilities, their many varied successes, perspectives, opinions and ambitions.

Thanks #IWILL fund, Big Lottery fund, the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the One Community Foundation for supporting us to make this work.

#FutureLoading is available to watch on the Dark Horse Theatre YouTube channel.

The Garden: Lockdown Edition

July 2020

Written and Directed: Amy Cunningham
Design and Illustrations: Pip Leckenby
Digital Production: Penny Cunningham
Featuring music by Rhiannon Scutt

Originally intended as a play for theatres Dark Horse is delighted to present The Garden: Lockdown Edition, an exquisite online experience fusing poetry, music, script, and stunning illustrations.

Suitable for a general audience whilst also appealing to people who have a learning disability.

The Garden: Lockdown Edition in now available to watch via the Dark Horse YouTube channel.

The Garden

July 2020

Written and Directed by Amy Cunningham
Choreography by Villmore James
Designed by Pip Leckenby

When Sophie goes to stay with her brother she meets Emma, a poet who lives in the house next door. In the sanctuary of the garden and over the course of the changing seasons, their relationship blossoms and then falters as Sophie begins to question herself and where things might be going.

The Garden features Dark Horse’s final year student actors, an ensemble cast of eight professionally trained student actors with learning disabilities who take you on a story of bittersweet friendship, denial and unrequited love.

Funny and poignant the show is suitable for a general audience whilst also appealing to people who have a learning disability. #TheGarden

Cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic, The Garden was re-imagined for an online audience. The Garden:Lockdown Edition is available to watch via the Dark Horse YouTube Channel.



Spring 2019

Written and Directed by Amy Cunningham

STIR is a performance, combining live theatre and film, created for Key Stage 3 and 4 students by Dark Horse Theatre.

STIR begins by following Thomas, the central character, and his struggle to be accepted by his peers. We see Thomas attempt to climb the social ladder, no matter the cost, and the drastic consequences that unfold. It is a story of war, love, loss and the fear of letting go.

Devised and performed by an ensemble of 8 actors with a learning disability, STIR tests an audience’ beliefs, challenging their expectations and appreciation of others.

It has been devised using a variety of stimuli including Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Rona Munro’s Scuttlers, taking on the themes of both to create a whole new narrative. An engaging tale told by a company of experienced story-tellers, STIR is not to be missed.

STIR is currently touring schools and community settings. To book, call 01484 484441 or email

You Have Been Watching

Autumn 2017

Written and Directed by Lucy Campbell
Designed by Laura Ann Price
Lighting Design by Adam Murdoch

After a false start (or two) it finally looks as if struggling actor Martin Midgley is going to get his dream role and a regular speaking part playing Detective Bob Newton in BAD, all he has to do first is solve the murder and he’s in it. But with everyone else fighting to stay on the show, rival families at war over a ‘will they, wont they’ wedding and none of the other characters willing to stay dead, it seems as if everyone is determined to get in the way of his enquiries.


Lawrence Batley Theatre, March 2015

Written and directed by Vanessa Brooks
Designed by Pip Leckenby
Original score by Loz kaye
Lighting Design by Johnny Marshall

Short story writer Mixy Maddson hangs loose at the Prairie Club and always goes way too far. With bills to pay, a deadline to meet and the last drink still wet on her lips, she’s forced by her shady cousin Dirk to dig deep and dirty into the crazed Wild West of her imagination. The lines blur as the keys on her ancient typewriter jump and the unreal becomes real, the bullets fly, the venom kicks in and high plains justice spill like sweet strong liquor all over the harsh real world that Mixy’s running from.

SNAKEBITE Premiere Ensemble Production

Sing Something Simple

World Premiere Tour Spring 2013, Greatest Hits Volume Two Tour Spring 2014

Written and Directed by Vanessa Brooks
Designed by Pip Leckenby
Digital Projection Design by Mic Pool
Lighting Design by Johnny Marshall
Sound Design and Musical Direction by Loz Kaye

“My name is Spencer Parkin and I can’t sing…Can you?”

Spencer’s Mum is a jazz singer, his best friend Bonnie plays the mandolin and his brother Kit is heading for pop stardom.  Craving the spotlight Spencer goes on his own quest for musical fame which leads all the way to the Royal Albert Hall, inspired by his late granddad, the legendary Gerry Parkin, session singer extraordinaire.

SING SOMETHING SIMPLE is a laugh out loud funny and genuinely moving play, guaranteed to chase the winter blues away, featuring live music, digital projection by Tony award winner Mic Pool…And a disappearing dog!


June 2012

Written and directed by: Vanessa Brooks
Designed by: Kevin Jenkins
Original score composed by: Loz Kaye

Abundance. Love. Happiness, harmony and peace are all put at risk when the crops fail, and the blaming begins.

September survives the unthinkable war and walks in a post apocalyptic world where ancient superstition and belief take the place of  money, work and society.

Favoured at first, she finds herself at odds with her new found family, as sister suspects sister, and fire, source of all life, becomes a much more sinister tool.

A high octane, world premiere drama in the round.

HARVEST, the next world premiere production in the round from Dark Horse


September 2011

Written and Directed by: Vanessa Brooks
Designed by: Kevin Jenkins
Music composed by: Loz Kaye
Stills photography by: Amanda Crowther

Gasping for breath, Abe is washed up on the shore of an island in the middle of a vast ocean.  The Colonists find him and offer the best of their society.  But Abe thinks he can make things better in this world strange to him and at the moons’ total eclipse two cultures clash, with tragic consequences.

COLONY, the latest extraordinary world premiere theatre production from Dark Horse


Pilot Tour 2010, National Tour 2011

Written and Directed by: Vanessa Brooks 
Designed by: Kevin Jenkins 
Music composed by: Loz Kaye 
Pilot tour stills photography by: Angus Deuchar
National tour stills photography by: Amanda Crowther

Andernach, Nazi Germany, the harsh winter of 1940, the hospital for hereditary and incurable diseases. Oskar Weltz, long time patient, digs two holes into the surface of the frozen lake outside, and a competition begins. Between heat and cold, life and death.