Benny Shakes is a formidable stand up and winner of the ND Review Disabled Champions Award 2023. He has been called “sharp, funny and fearless” (Karen Bayley), “animated and energetic” (Liam O'Dell) and with “and abundance of charm and humour” (Theatre and Art Reviews).
As well as performing stand up at top comedy clubs around the country Benny is the creator and star of Blue Badge Bunch, a critically acclaimed groundbreaking disabled led game show for all ages funded by Arts Council England. The project has been running for three years, and in that time has toured the UK twice, been nominated for the Neurodiverse Representation Award, nominated for Best Show in the Midlands Comedy Awards, had two successful runs at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe, appeared at Vault Festival and many other prestigious events across the UK, as well as at schools and community groups, receiving praise for its disabled representation, educational value and innovative, fun games.
Benny is originally from Ruislip and after attending Portland College to study Horticulture, now works on a community farm in Nottinghamshire, but initially struggled to find a job. Benny found through his life that people would show him pity, not speak directly to him, assume that he was intoxicated, or unable to communicate.
The driving force behind Benny’s work is to show people the societal and physical challenges disabled people live with every day, to inspire celebration of disability and educate children and adults.
Benny continues to research and present insight into disabled people’s experiences and recommendations for the future and is determined that as Blue Badge Bunch grows it will provide many more professional and public opportunities for disabled people.
Benny presents workshops for teachers and pupils based around the games from Blue Badge Bunch, and delivers talks on his own experiences of disability.
Praise for Blue Badge Bunch
★★★★★- “Lots of fun” - MixUpTheatre.com
★★★★★ - “Extremely inclusive” - A Youngish Perspective
★★★★ “Engagingly interactive.” Three Weeks
★★★★ "A mighty show" Neurodiverse Review
★★★★ “An abundance of charm & humour” Theatre & Art Reviews
★★★★ “An inspired, brilliantly energetic game show for kids like you've never seen before!” Everything Theatre
Best Show Midlands Comedy Awards (2nd Place)
Neurodiverse Representation Award 2022 (Shortlist)
Lyn Gardner’s VAULT Festival 2023 Top Picks
"Thanks for coming - all our young people had so much fun!"– Abi Cowie, Assistant Headteacher, Autism Northern Counties School
‘Benny is an engaging host with mountains of charm’– A Youngish Perspective
"A commendable effort raising some much-needed disability awareness."– Liam O'Dell
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