Jo Newman- Associate Director Salisbury Playhouse

 

Vanessa Brooks has created a truly integrated rehearsal process for learning disabled and non learning disabled actors with her Silent Approach, which achieves high quality results. Through her game-changing Separate Doors research projects she has worked tirelessly to open out this process to other organisations and industry professionals across the UK to interrogate actor training and to make sure that learning disabled actors are represented in mid-scale touring work. Taking part in two of her Silent Approach rehearsals I have seen first-hand how beautifully she holds the space and works completely non-verbally in a rigorous, effective process, where there is such an intense level of focus as well as a safe space to create and be playful. I would love to see this approach used more widely. There are some incredible tools from this approach which can be adapted to fit with directors existing processes to make sure that rehearsal rooms are more accessible and that directors feel confident that they can fully support an integrated company – to make sure all actors are getting the most from the process, and make sure that the work created is properly representative of the UK population. The theatre industry is still a long way behind where it should be in terms of representation and here’s hoping we can all take note of this incredible work and incorporate it within our own practice, our own organisations, so that in time there can be a step change across the industry as a whole.