To launch our first SENsory Atelier Teacher’s Joint Professional Development (JPD), staff from Attenborough Arts Centre joined teachers from Ashmount School, Ellesmere College and Oaklands School to attend a day of theatre training that showed us new ways of facilitating diverse theatre.
At the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton, Open Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Richard Hayhow and company actor Luke led an insightful introduction to their unique ways of working which challenges the traditional ways of engaging young people with Learning disabilities (YPWLD) in theatre. Open Theatre uses nonverbal physical theatre to collaborate with YPWLD, creating quality art which reflects and celebrates their unique creativity.
They wholeheartedly believe in the ability of YPWLD to contribute to the creative and cultural life of the places where they live, and work as advocates for their valued involvement as artists and leaders. They take conventional ideas about the arts & creativity and flip them on their heads
The day’s training with Open theatre gave an insight into the inclusive practice of the company with their non-verbal, improvisation and play-based theatre practice. The workshop covered improvisation, warm ups, creating narrative and story through physicality, contact and mirroring.
“How rare it is that we get the chance to play and learn as adults! This training gave me confidence that I am on the right track with how I work with my group (Movers), as well as some fresh new ideas and exercises to stretch and push them. It also made me realise how much you can let people explore and discover for themselves because you take away the pressure of getting it “right” – and the results are surprising and beautiful. I took the ethos of this workshop straight into the rehearsal room with me and it made such an impact on the actors, developing their freedom to interpret the guidelines of a concept into something personal to them”
Charlotte Beaver Artistic Director of Movers Theatre Company
In the afternoon, Richard and Luke led us through several improvised scenes using minimal props including hats, chairs and newspapers, learning through non-verbal modelling, demonstration and guidance and dynamic music.
The energy amongst the teachers grew and bubbled up throughout the day, with surprise outcomes ‘who knew we just created a whole dance performance in such a short time?!’ and smiles, laughs and applause filled our afternoon improv performances.