Helping make theatre more inclusive for blind and partially sighted young people
A theatre project for blind and partially sighted young people has brought together performers from Wales and across Europe to the University of South Wales (USW).
The celebratory event, entitled You Can’t Sit With Us, was held at USW’s Cardiff Campus and shared theatre created, directed and performed by young people who have taken part in the TIP (Theatre as Inclusive Practice) project.
The Erasmus+ research and training project is designed to empower young people aged 18-30 who have experienced, or are experiencing, exclusion, by using theatre. It aims to tackle exclusionary biases based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and poverty that produce barriers to individuals and communities.
As part of the project, young participants from five partner countries are developed as workshop leaders through training in inclusive theatre practices. They, in turn, apply their training and skills, leading workshops with young people in their own setting.
Project partners include UCAN (Unique Creative Arts Network) Productions, which creates opportunities for blind and partially sighted children and young people to get involved in the creative arts.
Based in Cardiff, UCAN works across the UK to run programmes that help develop physical and vocal confidence, raise aspirations and promote individual abilities.
Jane Latham, Co-Founder and Development Director at UCAN Productions, said: “We are extremely grateful to be working in partnership with USW on our Theatre as an Inclusive Practice Project.
“As an organisation, we are familiar with some of the barriers our young people have to overcome. All of our partners on this project have expertise in tackling and overcoming exclusion, so we hope that by working together, we can contribute to making theatre a more inclusive practice.”
Dinos Aristidou, Creative Learning Director at UCAN Productions, added: “This empowering project is an extraordinary opportunity for young people from different countries who have experienced exclusion to come together and create theatre based on their experiences.
“It has developed young people as workshop leaders and theatre makers, allowing them to create a moving piece dealing with disability, LGBTQ+ issues, immigration and socio-economic issues.
"Bringing together partners from Wales, Bulgaria and Slovenia, this project has been kindly hosted by the University of South Wales who have championed Applied Theatre as a form that gives young people a voice.”
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