In 2019, BOP was invited to Nepal by the British Council based in Kathmandu. The reason for the invitation was to lead a series of workshops, sharing the skills and knowledge that BOP has developed at how to make creative work in a way that is accessible to and inclusive of disabled people. The dates of this workshop coincided with the Nepal International Theatre Festival, and our Executive Producer, Mairi Taylor, was invited to speak as part of a panel discussing the different barriers disabled people face in engaging with performance – and how BOP works to remove these barriers.
Based in the British Council offices in Kathmandu, Mairi Taylor (Executive Producer), Michelle Rolfe (Producer) and Callum Madge (Engagement Manager) from BOP worked with 29 Nepalese people, from Kathmandu and the surrounding area. The participants consisted of artists who wanted to learn how they could work more inclusively, and disabled people who wanted to engage in creative opportunities. The workshops focused on disability equality, BOP’s use of creative access and collaborative working while developing ideas for a British Council grant which was due to open for applications at the end of the workshops.
The five half-day workshops consisted of a mixture of: sharing knowledge about good inclusive practice from BOP’s Disability Equality Training; talking through examples of BOP’s work as case studies; practical activities that grouped together artists and disabled people so they could better understand the others perspective; discussions around the practicalities of being a disabled person in Nepal; sessions that provided guidance on best to apply for the British Council grants – in consultation with British Council Nepal staff. It is important to note that BOP made clear from the outset that its knowledge and skills come from a UK perspective and we didn’t pretend to understand the nuances of the Nepalese experience – to this end we worked closely with Sagar Prasai from the National Rehabilitation Society for the Disabled (NRSD) based in Kathmandu, himself a disabled man.
Around 40% of the participants were disabled and very few of them spoke English so we worked through an English-Nepali translator – the Deaf Nepalese . BOP worked responsively with the group, shifting activity in response to the group’s size and learning needs. To do this we drew on our the knowledge and on the established processes of the company – including artistic practises and knowledge around disability equality and artist development. Read the full evaluation report at the link below.
You can read about the workshops on the British Council Nepal website here