ARC Stockton and Saltburn-based Little Cog are working with Steps, a community bridge building organisation, to create a unique opportunity for learning disabled people in Stockton.
After the huge success of our project called 45 Days to Find My Way which allowed disabled people to explore lots of things about themselves through the arts, which they shared with the public, we have been able to create a brand new project as a next step.
Six members of the 45 Days group, who had a leading role in designing a portraiture exhibition and a Flash Mob surprise on Stockton High Street, have gone on to become mentors for a new intake of young people with an interest in performing arts.
The six mentors are committed to creating a new theatre group which will make plays and films about things that matter. Vici Wreford-Sinnott who designed 45 Days and is leading the new group said, “It is brilliant to see the commitment from the young people in this new group. They really want to challenge how disabled people are viewed and want the community to know that they have valuable things to offer us all.”
The group told us, “We want to ask people not judge a book by its cover, don’t make assumptions about who are and what we are like. Just because we might look different, sound different or seem different, we still have things that are really great about us.”
‘Things that matter’ has become our theme and includes areas such as wanting the same life chances as everyone else, wanting to be heard and our views included, especially when it’s about us, and making sure that people know we have a lot to offer.
The six mentors are busy supporting the new group members and are all spending three months on performing arts skills development before beginning to devise a new piece of theatre. Together they are finding their voice and want to share work which reflects the experiences and identity of learning disabled people.
Vici commented, “Everyone in the group is working hard on team building skills so that we have a solid base to work from and we are doing physical theatre, vocal work, improvisation and having lots of fun learning through some of our best drama games and exercises. There are exciting times ahead.”