Making a stand for those who have limited access to the world of performing arts, Head2Head Sensory Theatre is all for celebrating diversity and inclusion but the message they want to spread is that these two buzzwords should not just be put on the agenda for a day or a week, but relentlessly.
“It’s about embracing everyone’s individual needs actively and consistently” says Ciara Lawrence, Mencap’s Big Plan Engagement Lead and Head 2 Head Trustee; “There is not much point in putting emphasis on inclusion for a limited time and then forgetting about it. It needs to form the basis for every institution no matter how big or small. We should be embracing it every day and adapting how we work with it as time goes on.”
Everyone assumes a theatre may be accessible to everyone because of its physical layout, but it isn’t always the case.
In theatre, inclusion means that you fully take on board that a small percentage of the public and their families may not be able to relate or indeed may not feel comfortable in an environment that is deemed ‘publically’ safe.
Inclusive theatre H2H Sensory Theatre have created something special which is accessible for this underserved part of the community. Fundamentally they bring the magic of theatre to everyone.
“Our approach to inclusivity is two sided.” Says Anni Rhodes-Steere, Founder of H2H Sensory Theatre. “On the one hand we strive to make theatre accessible to all by producing unique shows online and in the flesh that are tailored for the SEND community. On the other we are working hard to recruit aspiring actors from the SEND community who dream of a career in performing for the world.
In 2017 we set up a unique and groundbreaking ‘Work Experience Programme’ in theatre practice for students transitioning from special schools. The team is ably assisted by a feisty young woman – a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and autism – who loves to perform and show families that anything is possible.
Founded in 2006, Head2Head Sensory Theatre has only one aim … to serve the special needs’ community.
Each of our experienced acting team is trained in Makaton signing and the use of communication aids to ensure each drama experience is fully accessible. Our actors do not perform on stage. We perform amongst, and with, our audience making each session truly immersive and fun. And we are proud of the fact that our actors put their audience to the forefront of each performance offering role play, teamwork opportunities and absorbing impromptu appearances into the storyline!