Who is theatre with actors with learning disabilities for?

n-sam-toft-bums-on-seats

 

Everybody.

That’s my hope and plan…

In the new writing work and rehearsal room technique that I’m developing.

Making work for general audiences is not the main goal of everyone who makes theatre with actors with learning disabilities.

‘Serving an audience’ is intrinsic to what I’m aiming to do, other creators work in other ways successfully.

I may not succeed and my colleagues may not succeed in serving an audience (all theatre work of any worth can and often does fail) but it’s always the aim to nourish people with the work when it comes to performance.

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Every second of stage time the playwright conceives, the actor inhabits, the designer sees and the director edits and channels is crafted to engage an audience.

Every member of the team, and especially the actors, know this.

An actor lives and dies on stage by serving the audience. The moment the audience is lost, they’re gone for ever.

And making each second of stage time serve an audience is the fundamental of this kind of theatre making process.

Serving an audience doesn’t mean compromising on challenge.

Serving an audience doesn’t mean creating a comfort zone where prejudices are reinforced and status quo is maintained.

Serving an audience means provoking, informing, wrong footing, thrilling and providing a shared experience of a compelling revelation.

I work with all kinds of different people from different theatre and actor training ‘worlds’.

People from the general theatre industry and people whose principal focus is diversity.

The work I’m developing with collaborators exists on the bridge between the two worlds where I believe the potential for real change is great.

It’s as easy to dismiss work which serves audiences as ‘bums on seats’ as it is to ignore learning disability-led and focused work as ‘preaching to the choir’.

All good theatre is very hard to make and the way its made is diverse.

There’s no ‘right’ way and serving audiences isn’t wrong, or easy.

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