Herts Inclusive Theatre’s chair, Patrick Moloney, is retiring from the role after 17 years helping to lead the Watford based charity.
Patrick became involved with the organisation after his daughter joined as a volunteer when it was formed in 2001. Initially he was reluctant to take on the role but stepped in after it looked like a committee would not be formed unless he did.
Patrick has seen three artistic directors and a number of Trustees come and go, but has worked alongside the current director and producer for the past 10 years.
He said: “In the 17 years I have been a volunteer and chairman of Herts Inclusive Theatre I have been proud to see children, young people and adults of all abilities develop skills and confidences to enhance their personal lives. Some have gone on to college to study areas of theatre, and then gone on into careers in the theatre which is in itself rewarding.
“Some of the most rewarding times have been when an individual has suddenly shone in a performance after their time learning their skills or you see them change as they get older and move from children’s theatre to youth theatre and using what they have learnt being enhanced.
“The growth of the organisation from an outreach project of Chickenshed 18 years ago with one venue and two age groups to a thriving charity of 10 groups in Borehamwood, Watford, Rickmansworth, Stanmore and Hemel Hempstead, covering ages six to 86, has been down to the hard work of the trustees, staff and volunteers, all of whom have also developed into their roles with amazing results for us.”
Herts Inclusive Theatre, which started out as an after school group in Bushey, currently works with 163 people each week in South West Hertfordshire. Through arts and wellbeing activities the charity ensures that disabled and disadvantaged people have access to opportunities including after school drama groups for children, art therapy for adults with mental health problems, weekly theatre sessions for learning disabled adults and holiday activities for children and young people.