Appeals: Chicken Shed Theatre Company Children's Theatre

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Phillip Constantinou and Amy Barnett, members of Chicken Shed Theatre Company Children's Theatre, in Trail My Soul at the Criterion Theatre, London, earlier this year. The company offers opportunities to young people of all sorts of physical and mental ability to perform together. 'A Positive View', an exhibition of photographs at the Saatchi Gallery, in St John's Wood, north London, followed by an auction of the 200 exhibits at Sotheby's, will benefit two charities, Chicken Shed and the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (DEBRA). Chicken Shed is hoping to open a workshop building in Enfield, London, as a base for its 450 members. DEBRA is appealing for funds for its research into the causes and treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a group of genetic disorders affecting the skin.

The Chicken Shed Theatre Company was founded in 1974, from a disused chicken shed in north London. The casts of its productions range in age from seven to 30, from a wide variety of backgrounds, including those who would usually be excluded from such events - those with handicaps, the blind, deaf or autistic. It aims to develop individual skills through dance, drama, music, mime and production workshops. At present the workshops operate from church halls around London, also travelling to schools, day centres and colleges. The company wants to build a permanent workshop in Enfield, at a cost of pounds 2.4m.

DEBRA's research funding has resulted in important advances in the understanding of the genetics of EB, a condition in which the skin and internal body linings blister spontaneously or as a result of rubbing or knocks. There is still no cure for EB, but the genes responsible for three of its 22 types have been isolated, largely as a result of DEBRA research, and it is hoped that, providing funding remains available, effective treatments will be available by the end of the decade.

For further information, contact: Chicken Shed, contact: Chicken Shed, 79 Southbury Road, Enfield EN1 1PJ, telephone 081-367 0070; The Director, DEBRA, DEBRA House, Wellington Business Park, Dukes Ride, Crowthorne, Berkshire RG11 6LS, telephone 0344 771961.

The exhibition runs from Wednesday 14 September to Friday 30 September at the Saatchi Gallery, 98a Boundary Road, London NW8, and exhibits will be auctioned at Sotheby's, 34 New Bond Street, London W1, on Wednesday 5 October.

(Photograph omitted)