Courageous Callum is set for Royal Albert Hall stage

Courageous Callum is set for Royal Albert Hall stage

An aspiring young performer from King’s Lynn has overcome the odds and is set to make his stage debut at the Royal Albert Hall later this month after battling a knee condition which consigned him to a wheelchair for 3 months.

On Saturday 17th September, Callum Barber, (15) from Downham Market will join a cast of hundreds of young performers for Theatretrain’s “We’re Gonna Change The World” annual event - its 100th large-scale production.

It is an incredible achievement for all of the students but especially for Callum, who has a condition which affects the muscles around his knee.

Back in December 2022, Callum had an operation to attach an external cage into the bones of his leg. He was in a wheelchair for 12 weeks but still attended his local Theatretrain classes which are held on Saturdays at Springwood High School on Queens Way.

Since then, Callum has been on a long journey of plaster casts and braces to help his leg, as well as physio, has even had to learn to walk again, build muscles and overcome many fears.

Company director of Theatretrain King’s Lynn, Kate Whyborn, takes up the story;

‘Callum has shown what true determination is and has been inspiring to watch, adapting choreography so that he can still 100% participate and never once showing any frustration. He has even refused a chair in the choir and breaks as he does not want to give in!

‘He’s an inspiration to us all here and I’m sure his bravery will rub off on the hundreds of other students joining us for the big day at the Royal Albert Hall. This show is also extra special as he will be performing a solo in a large scale show for the first time!

Theatretrain is a performing arts specialist that provides theatre training for young people and “We’re Gonna Change The World” (their 12th at the iconic Royal Albert Hall) will see young performers from across the UK taking part aged from 4-18.

Now in its 30th year (Covid hiatus paused activity) Theatretrain gives young people the space to learn key theatre skills in dance, singing and acting.

There are over 80 of them, all run by skilled, qualified and experienced performing arts professionals like Kate, with a passion for supporting young people with an interest in the arts.

Callum’s mum, Charlotte Barber said;

‘I think what really struck me was that Callum was determined to come to Theatretrain on the Saturday despite only having the operation on the Monday! He was so desperate to be there for the end of term and it was what he talked about in hospital. That bit of normality every week, to still do what he loves has helped him through.’

Theatretrain’s approach ensures a crossover between all singing, all dancing and all acting. It also means a large orchestra, a massive 800 strong choir and a powerful story told in the arena, an arena that Callum can’t wait to enter, as he notes in the show’s programme;

‘The rehearsal process has been amazing, watching and being part of the development of this show, every week, knowing Theatretrain is part of something bigger.

‘Personally moving from an operation, has meant this show has given me a target to work towards and focus on and I can’t wait to be a part of an epic show!’.

Theatretrain was founded by Kevin Dowsett, who brings together 50 years of outstanding performing arts experience to teach children the fundamentals of theatre in a vibrant, welcoming space, delivered through the Theatretrain Local Company network across the UK.

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