A Different Way Overview
Today, 29th April 2020, was the day of the A Different Way Symposium in Leicester. It was the culmination of 12 months of work, It now on hold but to mark today we wanted to share with you what we have been up to and celebrate all the partners, artists, participants and the brilliant DBP staff for all their hard work, creativity and support.
As you can imagine it’s been a tough few months for a small company like DBP and the heartbreaking reality of pausing all of our activity. Yet in this series of short blog posts we’ll share with you the #ADiffWay journey we’ve been on and share some ‘sneak peek’ video clips of the 3 R&D shows we are creating.
In 2019 we received an Arts Council England Project Grant for A Different Way, a project led by Daryl Beeton Productions, working with 7 partner organisations and 5 Disabled artists placing the access and inclusion at its heart.
It focuses on Disabled-led Theatre for Young Audiences involving national sector development by placing young people and participation at its heart. It’s a flagship programme to launch a change within the TYA sector.
It’s been an amazing journey so far, we had trained 16 freelance artists and worked with 119 young Disabled and non-disabled participants who have taken part in 34 creative workshops. We’d undertaken 2 of the 3 creative R&D rehearsals and had a script drafted for the 3rd.
But I couldn’t have done it without the amazing people behind the scenes who have helped bring it to life and kept me on track.
From left to right we have | Claire Horton… The Producer! | Miryam Solomon… The Co-ordinator | Rebecca Morris Knight… The Comms | I can’t thank you enough for your support over the last 12 months!
The #ADiffWay Symposium
Let’s get beyond the basics of access & inclusion.
Let’s talk about true representation. Let’s tell important stories. Let’s make our TYA programming relevant. Let’s make theatre that resonates.
The #ADiffWay Symposium was for arts organisations both large and small, appealing to programmers, commissioners, learning & outreach teams, general managers, chief execs and more.
We’d lined up an amazing group of speakers joining us for the day to share their ideas and experiences.
It was an opportunity to:
- Find answers and plot your next steps to being a better ally for access and supporting Disabled-led theatre for young audiences.
- See 3 work-in-progress shows demonstrating inclusive commissioning in action.
- Be part of sessions led by experts in creative accessibility from across the TYA sector, looking at commissioning, marketing, education & more.
75% of the project had been completed between May 2019 – February 2020 and the last 25% of the programme was due to take place between March-April 2020. To date we had trained 16 freelance artists and worked with 119 young Disabled and non-disabled participants who have taken part in 34 creative workshops. We’d undertaken 2 of the 3 creative R&D rehearsals and had a script drafted for the 3rd.
We had been honestly delighted by the response from the sector to the ADW Symposium, which was the culmination of the programme. We sold 85% capacity in under a month. This response reaffirmed our understanding how important it is to get beyond the basics of access and inclusion and develop Disabled-led theatre for young audiences, but also that our sector is ready and willing to make that change.
Our partners had been supportive, involved and generous with their time and ideas. Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester were hosting the symposium and have been nothing but accommodating and helpful. We can’t wait to press play on this project and continue to work with them all again.
The 3 Creative R&D’s
As Part of our A Different Way programme we have developed new shows for different age ranges . Following the ideology of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, the aims was to create work with, not for, young Disabled people. This meant there was no artists locking themselves in a room before we had listen to the voices of young people and their understanding and creative response to the themes, their ideas were needed before we could even begin. A Different Way saw us research and develop 3 new shows, delving into the nuances of access and inclusion in meaningful and entertaining ways….So here is a sneak peak at what we had been up to.
An Unseen World for 3-6 year olds
How do you know a barrier is there if you can’t see it? A story about being made to feel naughty just because the rules don’t make sense.
In partnership with: Half Moon Theatre & Globe Primary School
Artists Involved: Daryl Beeton, Jon Van Beek & Arji Manuelpillai
Have a read of the An Unseen World Blog –HERE
Look Mum, No Hands for 8 -1 2 year olds
Discovering moments of independence by taking small risks. A Story of two friends exploring how each other’s boundaries change as they grow up.
Artists Involved: Lina Jonnsosn, Daryl Beeton, Maiya Leeke, Rosy Roberts, & Jon Van Beek
Have a read of the Look Mum, No Hands Blog – HERE
‘Special’ for 14+
Artists Involved: Daryl Beeton, Nickie Miles-Wildin, Jon Van Beek & Ben Lunn
Have a read of the Special R&D Blog – HERE
Since July 2019 we been running a sector facing social media campaign using the hashtag #ADiffWayToThink, where we share relevant reports, news items and good practice in the last week of every month which covers many subjects such as; ‘Understanding the Social Model of Disability’, ‘Questions we are afraid to ask’, T’he Aesthetics of Access’ and many more. This has been an ongoing discussion both ways, with the TYA sector interacting by asking questions or sharing their own experiences. With a simple aim to create a shared understanding around access and inclusion.
This month we focus on how CORVID-19 has created a ‘gold rush’ for online engagements but it’s becoming more clear that the voices of Disabled People are getting lost because considerations about access have just been thrown out the window in the rush to claim new ground. So we’ve been sharing some Disabled-led hashtags highlight those voices.
We had hoped by this point that we would have a clearer picture of how we would move forward but as I’m sure we are all aware it is still difficult to put concrete plans in place at this time. We will of course keep you updated as things become clearer.
Thank you once again for your support and we look forward to reconnecting with you in the future.