Reasons to be Cheerful
I was Associate Director on Graeae Theatre Companies autumn national tour of Reasons to be Cheerful. A raucous musical featuring the hits of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Written by Paul Sirett, Directed by Jenny Sealey with music by Ian Dury & the Blockheads. A Graeae Theatre Company production in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry.
Celebrating the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL is a punk rock musical and gritty coming of age tale, which always leaves audiences shouting for more.
Featuring Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ greatest hits including Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Sweet Gene Vincent, Spasticus Autisticus and Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick this acclaimed show will fill the theatre with raucous glee.
It’s 1979: Labour loses to the Tories, strikes rock the nation and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) climbs the charts. As the ultimate fans, Vinnie and his mates would do anything to see Dury at the Hammersmith Odeon, only the gig is sold out. But life has a habit of throwing strange things at you, and one night of frustration becomes something else entirely
A Square World
Currently touring, A Square World is my latest indoor show for young audiences available for touring. ‘A Square World’ aims to be a story that looks at the unfairness of being left out in a world designed for everyone else but yourself. Read more…
Currently taking bookings for 2018, Bingo Lingo is my latest outdoor show, which was Commissioned by Without Walls, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival. It’s a fun game of chance which aims to harness the nations love for Bingo. Compared by two colourful bingo compares they want to make bingo an olympic sport, but they’ll have to play it on a Paralympic scale! Read more….
The commissions were part of DM’s programme, in parternship with arts organisations including WAC Arts, Southbank Centre, Upswing and London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Reframing The Myth
In February 2016, CIA and Graeae launched Reframing the Myth at The Guardian’s exhibition space in Kings Cross. Central Illustration Agency and Graeae partnered 36 of its illustrators and four Deaf or disabled illustrators with 40 of Graeae Theatre Company’s artists to explore their mutual creativity and produce artwork inspired by the experiences of the company’s actors, dancers, writers and directors.
I collaborated with Tim Marrs a Saint Martins’ graduates, Tim’s work is a frenzied mix of drawing, photography, print and digital techniques and draws on American pulp and pop cultures. His adaptable style has attracted commissions from Nike, Ogilvy and Geffen Records… He’s also from Nottingham like me!
“I was impressed by his circus and performance work showing his agility, elegance and strength. The sway pole as he flew through the air gave him immense power. I based the work on the circus of old… the American carnie and freak-show posters. I wanted to turn this message on its head, making it a more positive 21st Century message. Daryl creates a beauty in what he does.” Tim Marrs
Supported by The Guardian
The Iron Man of Karachi
In partnership with Graeae and British Council Pakistan I worked on Developing a pioneering theatre-makers training programme for D/deaf and disabled young people and local theatre artists.
I directed two shows this year for the Rollettes, Graeae’s Young Artistic Advisors (aged 7-16). First we presented ‘The Buccaneers’ Final Frontiers’ at The Scoop on the river Thames as part of the LONDON BRIDGE CITY FRINGE FESTIVAL in July and then ‘The Astro-Elves Save Christmas’ in December turning on The Hackney Christmas Lights.
Happy Ever After Festival
In the summer or 2015 I worked with a group of 16 – 25 year olds to create an outdoor family arts festival with Kazzum. This included training and support for the young people to artistically programme professional acts, market the event, create bespoke performances and manage the festival. It was held on a sunny Saturday and had over a 1000 people attend. The ‘Happy Ever After’ family festival was a fairy tale themed event in Weavers Field Pocket Park in Bethnal Green filled with street performance, storytelling, craft workshops and live music!
To Find out more about the project click HERE
#Retold – Kazzum
I Directed Kazzum’s first ever digital project involving our first ever performance created specifically for a live streamed audience at home as well as a live audience in the space. You can read more about the product and project HERE
Waiting Game – Kazzum
I Directed a promenade, site-responsive performance for teenage audiences, inspired by the real-life experiences of London’s young asylum seekers presented at Oxford House and Weavers field. Read more about the show HERE
Paralympic Opening Ceremony
I performed as part of the professional Aerial team and performed on Sway poles and flew 25 meters across the stadium. You can watch a short film of the opening ceremony HERE
Addressed to a Friend – Kazzum
I directed this wonderful interactive family theatre which invited the audience to participate in a playful, exploratory journey, discovering homes, caves and underwater worlds, traveling up country lanes and across oceans, as the packages unfold to create a series of pop up landscapes.
The Girl Who… – Kazzum
I directed this show Inspired by Kazzum’s work with young refugees in London, the show is a fast-paced, immersive and interactive performance placing the audience in the driving seat for a 90 minute adventure through the old buildings, streets and markets of east London. More about the show HERE
The Garden – Graeae
I collaborated and performed in another outdoor show between Graeae Theatre and Strange Fruit Theatre working on the top of 20 foot bene polls. The show toured festivals around the UK
Curious Curios – Kazzum
I created and directed this weird and wonderful pop up museum and the even weirder professor Hetty.
Who’s Theatre Is It Anyway
I led a team of UK based theatre makers to create and present a day focusing on Disability Arts for Children and Young People at the ASSITEJ International Festival in Sweden. This was the start of the International Inclusive Arts Network which I now manage.
Against The Tide – Graeae
I collaborated and performed in a new outdoor show between Graeae Theatre and Strange Fruit Theatre working on the top of 20 foot bendy polls. The show toured festivals across the UK
Beginning With Blobs – Kazzum
I Directed this dance piece for young audiences inspired by Darwins theory of evolution.
Paper People – Kazzum
This show I directed toured between 2008 and 2015. Paper people was an interactive, street art performance that combines ‘walk-about’ and ‘visual performance’ for children, young people and their families.
HUNT – Kazzum
H.U.N.T. written by Sladjana Vujovic. A specially-commissioned play for young people exploring one person’s experience of violent war and conflict. HUNT was a site-specific, promenade style performance that responds to the character and uniqueness of Wilton’s Music Hall, providing a sense of the unexpected and evoking an energetic and emotive response from audiences.
The Boy Who Grew Flowers – Kazzum
The Boy Who Grew Flowers was a physical theatre show for young audiences with a lushly visual display of object theatre and live music combined with the use of humor and metaphor. Celebrating the beauty of our uniqueness this story gave reassurance to anyone who ever felt out of place.
Moments in Motion
In 2005 I created my very first independent show. Moments in Motion was a one man show that explored childhood memories of loneliness and their impact on adult life and the search of ‘Mr Right’. A mixture of comedy, theatre, movement and trapeze!
In 2005 I took part in the first series of Beyond Boundaries ‘Nicaragua’. I was part of a team of eleven Disabled men and women who trekked across the rainforests, deserts, rivers and mountains of Nicaragua. This arduous route took us from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean as the crow fly. And all of this was for a BBC 2 Documentary. It took 4 weeks to cross 228 miles which resulted in 4 X 1 hour programmes for BBC in 2005.
We started on the treacherous Mosquito Coast, escorted by armed soldiers to protect us from bandits and drug traffickers. Then we made our way through a jungle and crocodile infested rivers, and climbed a live volcano to make it to our finish line — the Pacific Coast.
The team included myself, Ade Adepitan, Jane Atkinson, Amar Latif, Sophie Morgan, Warren Wolstencroft, Lorraine Pooley, Karl Sacks, Glenn Kirk, Lorraine Pooley, Charlie Fennel and Toby Farrar. 11 started but on 7 finished!
It was an amazing experience which I will always cherish and would not have been able to do without the massive support of a TV company backed by the BBC. I’m not sure it was very progressive in terms of promoting Disability, access and inclusion, as it tended to focus on the injuries, the medical conditions and not enough on the political aspects of Disability…. but it was a prime time TV programme, so it was all about the ‘struggles’ and not the reality of the prejudices faced everyday by us Disabled.
This series was first transmitted on BBC Two in October 2005.
Below are highlights from each episode along with some images form the experience.
Associate Director, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre
For 3 years I was the Associate Director at Half Moon Young People’s Theatre with specific focus on Disability and Community. During that time I worked on a variety of youth theatres, community and schools projects as well as directing small scale professional shows.
There is a great archive website with video interviews and images here on Stages of Half Moon
But here are a few highlights
Yeh Hsien was a multi-media production devised and performed by the Disability Youth Theatre. Adapted from the traditional Chinese Cinderella story from AD 850-860, the production brought together four artforms: live performance, video projection, original sounds and music and a multi-sensory set
I Directed a new tour of When Snow Falls, this rework was adapted and updated to integrate British Sign language within the narrative which then turned nationally.
When Snow Falls, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre
A Half Moon Young People’s theatre show, by Chris Elwell. I played the character of ‘T’. T peers out of the window – face pressed up against the glass – and wishes. What if it snowed? T wishes so hard that sometime it hurts. Then one day things start to look just a little bit different….
When Snow Falls followed the adventure of two friends, T and mischievous side-kick Midge, who explored an enchanting snowy landscape filled with with icicles and snowflakes. They encountered a series of polar animals including a polar bear, penguin and reindeer – but where things were not always what they seemed.
Yes Sir I Can Boogie, BBC Radio 4
A comedy sketch show for and by people who are a little bit different. The show ran for 2 series on radio and a TV pilot. Its aim was to try and do for disabled people what the award-winning Goodness Gracious Me did for British Asians, by showing disability in a mainstream and funny way. Starring Kevin Eldon, Leila Hackett , Simon Greenall , Daryl Beeton , Mat Fraser and Emma Kennedy. Producers Ash Atalla and Helen Williams
Eclipse, A Tale for Winter, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre
A play about loss and re-birth, Eclipse: A Tale for Winter, told the story of Buzz always in the shadow of his sister, Amma and his best mate Dap. While Buzz has lots to say and loads of questions to ask, no-one seems to take him seriously, no-one seems to listen. By Chris Ewell
Jack and the Land of Dreams, Theatre Workshop
This is a traveller’s story based on the mythology associated with this people group. The central character Jack was born with the blessing of a protective sealie hood and receives a prophesy about marrying a princess and becoming king. The story follows him through dangers until eventually the prophesy is realised. I played Jack, the handsome young prince. By Robert Rae
King of Fools, D.A.S.H
1998 – 1999
D.A.R.E, Theatre Workshop
Whizz Kid, The Dukes, Lancaster
Alice, Nottingham Playhouse and Graeae