Anton Du Beke, Katya Jones, and Graziano Di Prima, renowned stars of the hit show Strictly Come Dancing, will be putting on their hard hats and tool belts to join Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS Big Build team in a remarkable project in Newcastle. Their mission? To transform the True Colours Performing Arts school, a vital institution for children and young adults with disabilities and learning needs.
True Colours, situated in Wallsend, has become a beacon of hope for the community it serves. Founded by Alisar-Jane, the inclusive dance school has been providing dance and theatre skills to 500 students on a weekly basis. Many of these students face various challenges, and True Colours has been instrumental in nurturing their talents and fostering their personal growth.
Alisar-Jane’s inspiration for establishing the school came from two life-changing events. As an adult, she was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism, finding solace and strength in dance during her diagnosis. Additionally, her niece was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition as a toddler, leading Alisar-Jane on a quest to find accessible dance classes. The absence of suitable options prompted her to create True Colours, ensuring that others would have the opportunity to experience the joy of dance.
Over time, True Colours has experienced remarkable growth, but its current space can no longer accommodate its expanding needs. With a long waiting list of potential students, the school has been forced to turn away new members. However, a glimmer of hope arrived when they were granted access to a run-down old boys club. Despite the potential of the new space, it currently lacks essential amenities such as electricity, heating, natural light, and disabled access. As a small charity, True Colours has limited funds to renovate the building. The dire state of their new facility has prompted their plea for help.
Enter Nick Knowles, the DIY SOS team, and the dazzling trio from Strictly Come Dancing. Their mission is to transform the dilapidated boys club into a fully accessible Performing Arts School. Nick Knowles expresses his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “This Performing Arts School really needs a transformation… if we can help them grow so they can accept more students, then we’re going to go above and beyond.”
Anton Du Beke, a veteran of Strictly Come Dancing, shares his excitement for the initiative. “What Alisar-Jane and her team are doing is very special,” he says. “Myself, Katya, and Graziano understand the power of dance and how it brings people together. This could really transform not just the building but the community too. We are thrilled to help out and bring some Strictly magic to the proceedings.”
Catherine Catton, the BBC’s Head of Factual Entertainment and Events, expresses her pride in the collaboration between two of the network’s most prominent brands, working together to support a community in need.
Will Nick Knowles and his team succeed in transforming the old boys club into a vibrant and accessible Performing Arts School? Will the Strictly stars bring their touch of magic to the project? Audiences can tune in to DIY SOS The Big Build on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year to witness the transformation. The previous series of the show can be caught up on BBC iPlayer.
DIY SOS is a Factual Entertainment programme commissioned for BBC One and BBC iPlayer by Catherine Catton, Head of Factual Entertainment and Events. The Commissioning Executive is Jasmyn McGuile. The programme is produced by BBC Studios Factual Entertainment Productions in Bristol, with Sarah Trigg as the Executive Producer.