Movie star ‘dazzled’ by company’s success

August 03 2015

WHILE many were star-struck by movie star Sir Patrick Stewart's recent visit to Gloucester Road, he was left feeling “dazzled” by the work carried out by local social enterprise Unique Voice.

WHILE many were star-struck by movie star Sir Patrick Stewart's recent visit to Gloucester Road, he was left feeling “dazzled” by the work carried out by local social enterprise Unique Voice.

Sir Patrick – who is patron of the community interest company, which uses drama to enhance learning and tackle social issues – was visiting Bristol to celebrate Unique Voice's success in reaching 40,000 young people throughout the city.

Famous for his roles in Star Trek and X-Men, Sir Patrick accompanied Unique Voice as they visited a number of Bristol schools, including Orchard School, Glenfrome Primary and Oasis John Williams, to learn about the work they have been doing.

Sir Patrick was treated to a performance from Orchard School's e-safety champions, who have spent the last year learning skills in helping other children with concerns about bullying and internet safety.

The day culminated in an annual review at Zazu's Kitchen, where Sir Patrick commended the group – founded by Krystal Keeley, Cat Sparkes and Claire Farnham – for their success and dedication to young people.

He said: “When I read about the work Unique Voice was doing, I was immediately drawn to the societal impact of it; that there was care behind what they were doing.

“[They have] a quality of empowering young people to make their lives safer, happier, and more creative.

“Today, I am taking away with me such brilliant impressions of the diversity of work Unique Voice is now doing, touching young people's lives in so many different ways.

“Unique Voice provides safety; provides the children with a platform and gives them a voice – a voice they find when performing, or it’s their own voice speaking about what is important to them.

“I'm still dazzled by Unique Voice's dedication and level of success – Bristol is so fortunate to have this company and I am so proud to be their patron. This is one thing that is going to stay in my life for a long time.”

Sir Patrick also briefly touched on his own experience of domestic violence – one of the issues which Unique Voice aims to tackle through drama – and spoke of how acting provided him with a way of escaping the realities of his own home life when he was a youngster.

Sir Patrick said that theatre provided him with a “safe zone”, and he felt that he’d “come home” when he took to the stage.

Unique Voice, which has been working with young people for four years, spent the afternoon telling Sir Patrick and other guests at Zazu's Kitchen about their milestone achievement, and various creative projects they have delivered across Bristol's communities.

Krystal Keeley, co-founder of Unique Voice, said: “The support that Sir Patrick Stewart has provided over the years has been an inspiration and a driving force in reaching our goals to benefit the people of Bristol and beyond.

“We were thrilled to welcome him and to celebrate with local schools and professionals the work that has been achieved.

“Whilst his talents of a groundbreaking actor inspire us, it is his dedication to Unique Voice’s ethos that was so prevalent.

“Seeing Sir Patrick advise our children to believe in their goals was a huge highlight. He found the day so inspiring and commented on just how astonished he was by the achievements made by the company and the young people.”

She added: “We are in talks with Patrick about how we can develop and grow, engaging both local and national businesses and schools in our venture to make a difference.

“As a proud Bristol based, not-for-profit social enterprise, our mission is set to continue over the next year with more passion and dedication than ever and we have huge aspirations to continue making a difference in Bristol.” 

Unique Voice is interested in hearing from local companies who may like to channel their corporate social responsibility, and help support the group's projects. For more information, email: theoffice@uniquevoice.org

Patrick Stewart with Unique Voice