BOP Theatre works to create excellent theatre that brings the stories of disabled people to the stage in accessible and innovative ways. Through our productions we reach a diverse range of people in different places, including rural and international communities. We create an ambitious, respected space to place disabled voices and narratives centre-stage. We strive to make experimental work that is unique, to learn from the results of what we do and to share that learning. We create work for people of all ages and who belong to diverse cultures.
As a theatre company with disability at its core, we feel it is important to establish an expectation that we will produce high quality theatre that embodies the principles of Creative Access. We wish to demonstrate a culture in which disabled artists are recognised for the excellence of their work, celebrated for the stories that they bring to the stage and are a vital part of the artistic landscape of Scotland.
We define Creative Access as new and innovative work that imaginatively embeds a range of tools such as audio description, captioning and sign language from the very beginning of the artistic process. To claim any credibility in promoting access to the wider arts community we have to show that it can be done well, that it adds value to a creative product and that it is desired by audiences. Through shows such as Wendy Hoose (2014/15/16) and Crazy Jane (2015) we have demonstrated convincingly that Creative Access was not just a way of meeting legal and moral equality obligations, it was something audiences enjoyed and that other theatre makers could and should aspire to.
“the production, co-directed by McKnight and Robert Softley Gale, has no time for such soppiness; it is rude, ribald and hilariously off-colour, and bodes tremendously well for the new directorship of Birds of Paradise.”
★★★★ THE GUARDIAN on ‘Wendy Hoose’
“… a two-hour drama-cum-cabaret..that adds another beautiful and haunting strand to the current generation of great work by Scottish-based companies involving artists with disabilities.”
★★★★ The Scotsman on ‘Crazy Jane’
Following these initial successes, we have gone on to develop our ‘risky aesthetic’ – putting atypical bodies on stage, which is risky for them and for us – challenging our newly confident audiences with productions that showcased unique voices from the deaf and disabled community.
Purposeless Movements (2016) – explored the specific physicality of men with Cerebral Palsy, consciously rejecting traditional movement and theatre styles to create something uniquely their own. The show played to packed out audiences at Tramway, Glasgow, Traverse, Edinburgh and Eden Court Theatre, Inverness – it received two 2016 CATs Nominations for Best Director and Best Ensemble.
“…this is one brilliantly shrewd triumph of a show…”
★★★★★ The Herald on ‘Purposeless Movements’
“real laugh-out-loud stuff…wit, charm and pathos…”
★★★★ The Scotsman on ‘Purposeless Movements’
Role Shift (2016), developed for a Play, Pie and Pint, consciously tackled the role of the BSL interpreter within live theatre – a subject of great interest to the Deaf community – and placed a disabled performer with an atypical body centre stage. Role Shift had a broad popular appeal, playing to audiences at Oran Mor and The Gaiety Ayr.
“Role Shift was by turns, a hilarious rollicking comedy, a comment on sexual mores and how the world views the disabled…”
★★★★★ Mumble Theatre on ‘Role Shift’
“I thought it was dangerous. A hell of a lot more interesting than the stuff other companies create. Much of the work I see is ordinary. This isn’t ordinary. It is unique and engaging.”
Ourmwork to date shows that by placing atypical bodies centre stage in shows that look like nothing else and could only have been made by us, we have carved out a highly-valued place in the Scottish cultural landscape.