BOP Young Artists

BOP Young Artists is a new artist development initiative from Birds of Paradise Theatre Company, supported by The Robertson Trust, and led by BOP’s Development Officer, Morna McGeoch (go to BOP staff).

BOP Young Artists is an artist development opportunity aimed at young people who have experienced barriers in taking part in other artist development opportunities due to an impairment.

This project aims to provide a space where young people with a passion for the performing arts can learn skills and develop their own creative practice, so they are better able to apply and take part in future creative opportunities. BOP wants to help nurture the future generation of talented disabled creatives.

Applications are still open for BOP Young Artists 2021/22! Find out more here.

Current Young Artists

We are currently working with three groups of young artists: the Pilot cohort (who we’ve been working with since April 2019), the Digital cohort (who we’ve been working with since August 2020), and the Third cohort (who we started working with in October 2021, and are still recruiting more people to join!)

Each of the 12 Young Artists are also working with our Development Officer to create individual professional development goals and pathways. If you would like to discuss any opportunities your organisation might have for our Young Artists, please do get in touch!

Lat year, some of the BOP Young Artists had a chat with Kate Ireland at The Skinny, about working with BOP throughout the pandemic, being part of a community of disabled artists, and their thoughts on accessibility. Check out the full article from The Skinny here.

Young Artists, the Third

We are delighted to introduce the newest Young Artists joining BOP: Mariam Chaudhry, Lloyd Darko, Cleopatra Gabriel and Rahul Mehmi, pictured here with theatre-maker Niloo-Far Khan at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) 2021.

The four newest BOP Young Artists, seated in various positions, with face masks, cups of coffee and beanbags also visible!

Young Artists (Digital)

In light of COVID-19, and their locations ranging from right across Scotland, this cohort work together digitally.

These five young artists share not only a love of performing arts, but a very specific shared love for writing!

The group have had workshops with a number of brilliant writers and dramaturgs including: Matilda Ibini, Robert Softley Gale, May Sumbwanyambe, Rosie Kellagher, Aly Woodhouse and Ellen Renton. The group have also been delighted to work with director Rachel Bagshaw, and designer Ali MacLaurin on the relationship with the writer in production.

The group are about to begin a mentoring project, where they have each chosen writers / artists they would like to be supported by. We are very excited to announce that these mentors include Matilda Ibini, Aoife Lyall and Kieran Hurley.

Young Artists (Pilot)

Locked World (a digital, disabled-centred artistic platform)

Locked World is the collective outcome of the BOP Young Artists working over 2019 – 2020. Each artist had been working towards a creative outcome and collective performance before Lockdown hit.

This work is not about lockdown or Covid-19, although the form it will now take is in part a response to not being able to perform to a live audience at this time.  

This work was originally developed responding to the concept of a “locked world” and had its origins in one of the group members describing their experience of being autistic. This concept, alongside the awareness of their differences in experience and opinion, and the collective drive to create an immersive performance experience, resulted in the intended format of Locked World as a reflexive performance installation consisting of a number of different pieces of work in which access supports are creatively embedded.

When lockdown occurred, we began discussing the feasibility of a digital version of Locked World. Four of the artists have been working with a Digital Arts Consultant to explore, interrogate, and realise this digital space as it shifts from live performance into the digital arts landscape. 

Locked World will exist as an interactive platform where others are welcomed to contribute creatively. It will be a platform whose design functionality is centred on disabled experience. Find out more here.

“there is power in recognising your world is locked

and though this project might build empathy or understanding it is not first and foremost an attempt to forge a key

to unlock this world

to unlock this world would mean

unlearning me

unlocking this world

would not mean becoming free

I am free when the world stops attempting to teach me a new body

I am not aiming to assimilate

my aim, just now is to be

be here

share space 

with you”

– Ink

Previous Activity

Young Artists 2019

In December 2019, the Young Artists were involved in ‘Festive Scratch Night’ – a scratch night created in partnership with Glasgow Connected Arts Network and The Bold Collective.

The BOP Young Artists began creating their work-in-progress pieces in September, and took part in event-planning meetings through October and November, before the event took place on December 18th 2019.

You can read all about the BOP Young Artists’ experiences of the ‘Festive Scratch Night’ here!

From April 2019 til August 2019, the Young Artists took part in a wide range of activity – providing support and opportunities to develop their existing skills and knowledge, and to connect with other arts professionals across the UK.

Some of the activities they engaged in have included:

  • Access to Acting workshop led by Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), at Scottish Youth Theatre.
  • Workshops on: making successful funding applications; employment and disability; self-employment and tax returns; roles in the theatre industry; and sharing our practice with others.
  • Observing rehearsals of Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘My Left/Right Foot: The Musical’ at NTS’ purpose-built home: Rockvilla.
  • Attending performances of ‘My Left Right Foot: The Musical’ at Dundee Rep, and ‘Purposeless Movements’ as part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2019.
  • Attending a number of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019, including two performances by members of BOP Young Artists.


2020 – 2021 (current)

Rebecca Hogan

Image of Rebecca Hogan. Rebecca has pale skin and long brown hair, tied back neatly from her face. She has dark brown eyes, lightly rosy cheeks, and wears a slight, genuine smile.

Rebecca Hogan [she/her]

My passion mainly lies in acting and writing.

For me art is about stories that help people connect and understand each other. I want the audience to feel represented in some way by the theatre I create and I want them to feel challenge in a positive way that gets them to rethink preconceptions they didn’t even realise they had.

I’ve mostly performed in and written naturalistic pieces of theatre but in the future, I want to experiment more with stylised elements and different genres to challenge myself in my story telling abilities.

Joanna Shand

Photograph of Joanna Shand

Joanna Shand [she/her]





Lewis Teckkam

Photograph of Lewis Teckkam

Lewis Teckkam [he/him]





Karis Williamson

Photograph of Karis Williamson. Karis has pale skin with a rosy complexion and she has long brown wavy hair. She wears glasses, and you can't tell what colour her eyes are in this photograph. Karis is wearing a ventilation mask, which is attached to her power chair. She wears block colours: a bright red denim jacket, mustard yellow cullotes and a blue t-shirt.

Karis Williamson [she/her]

I’m a poet and script-writer; I love seeing pieces come to life and how the written word brings people together. I’m really interested in exploring all aspects of drama which focus most on writing; I’m also interested in the editing aspects of music and film and  I’m currently setting my poems to film.

For me, art is about communicating and expressing aspects of the human condition in imaginative and creative ways and from original perspectives.  Through art, I can explore issues such as equality, disability and human rights; I’d like to challenge an audience’s expectations about all aspects of life!

Gavin Yule

Photograph of Gavin Yule. Gavin has very dark brown curly (but tightly cropped) hair. Gavin has a beard which is very short and neatly trimmed. He has dark brown eyes behind square-rimmed glasses, and is smiling with his lovely white teeth.

Gavin Yule [he/him]





2019 – 2020 (current)

Emily Beaney

Emily Beaney [she/her]

This piece portrays the unfolding of the two stage process of a tonic-clonic seizure. The ‘tonic’ phase, in which the body becomes rigid, and the ‘clonic’ phase, a jerking of the muscles. The phases are visually translated through the use of rigid, contrasting forms emanating from the body, and light, to reveal the surges of electricity in the brain.
The Storm Within. Performance series exploring neurological disorder and its effect on the body.

I enjoy working across disciplines to create outcomes that strive to be poignant, socially relevant and materially stimulating for the viewer’s senses.

These outcomes are largely ‘wearable sculptures’ for live art, activism and performance.

I experiment with materials such as fibre optics, metalwork, plastics and casted resins, alongside more traditional fibres and fabrics, to create striking sculptural forms. I also incorporate light, olfactory, sound and tactile elements in my work,

as I am fascinated by how our sensory experiences of the world can enhance our understanding of it.

My practice therefore seeks to establish how multi-sensory and immersive performance can effectively communicate meaningful messages and allow us to share in others’ experiences.

Jonathan Carlton

Jonathan Carlton [he/him]

Jonathan Carlton plays Panda Jackson in the Citizens Theatre's Gorbals Vampire 2016. Panda- wide mouthed, anger and fear in his eyes, and armed with a homemade weapon of sorts- makes an impassioned statement, as the rest of the characters onstage cower in fear a few feet behind him.
Jonathan Carlton as Panda Jackson in Gorbals Vampire, Citizens Theatre 2016 (Image credit Tim Morozzo)

I am an Autistic Actor who is passionate about Live Entertainment being Autism friendly.

The focus is on delivering Autism Awareness support to the Theatre and Entertainment industry through consultancy work on how to be Autism aware and Autism friendly.

I believe the Dramatic Arts is the greatest art form in the world and I believe the Dramatic Arts should be a driving force to inform the world about Autism.

As of July 2020, Jonathan has moved on to BOPs Youth Arts Consultants project, with a specific focus on Autism Awareness.

Ink Asher Hemp

Ink Asher Hemp [they/them]

I am a queer, trans, disabled creator, storyteller, activist

Theatre maker

A mentally fucked precariat

I’m a benefit scrounger and an art slag

I am white, For the most part I pass as male (I’m not), and For now I have secure housing

I walk through this world with privilege and benefit from so many systems of oppression

I have neither a passport or a birth certificate

I’m damn young and old as first atom

My heart runs on naivety and brain eats reality for breakfast, lunch, and tea

I’m a trouble maker

A considered trouble maker not act now and look at the laws later

I am 22537

I hate being photographed

I am recorded on upwards of 70 cameras a day

every day that I leave my flat

just like you

I live next door to 3 pigeons and a baby

I value my sleep

I value the future of freedom and democracy… autonomy and privacy

Emily Ingram

Emily Ingram [she/they]

Emily Ingram headshot

I’m a theatre-maker (and part-time arts administrator) with particular experience in producing, directing, and writing. I am interested in re-telling traditional stories in new ways with a focus on LGBT+ and women’s narratives. I am also a prop-maker and enjoy incorporating prop-work and spoken word influences into my creative practice.

Since 2015, I have worked as the Artistic Director of Some Kind of Theatre, an Edinburgh-based literary theatre company which I co-founded. Some Kind of Theatre (who are affectionately known as Skot) bring bookish new writing and literary classics to life onstage and in living rooms, care homes, offices, and schools, and we are striving to integrate accessibility into our organisation from our audition process right through to the way we bring our performances to our audiences. Since 2016, we have been running the Shakespeare On The Sofa and the Theatre On The Sofa schemes, which bring performances into the homes of people who can’t easily access theatre in traditional venues.

I’m really excited to be part of Birds Of Paradise’s Young Artists project and am enjoying learning from BOP and the other young artists who are taking part in the pilot scheme.

Robert McIntosh

Robert McIntosh [he/him]

Robert McIntosh plays a reporter in Citizens Theatres' A Night to Remember 2018. Four reporters stand onstage, clearly enthused by a story.
Robert McIntosh (2nd reporter from the left) in A Night to Remember, Citizens Theatre 2018. (image credit Tim Morozzo)

I am an aspiring actor and voice actor interested particularly in the role of the anti-hero and villain in story. I am interested in live theatre work, as well as voiceover work (including animated works and video games).

My passion for acting comes from feeling more able to fully express myself, by doing this through a character. Through my career, I want audiences to be excited about the talent of disabled actors, and to inspire future generations of disabled people.

Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson [he/him]

Andrew performs some parkour - he hangs from a horizontal metal pole around 2 metres off of the ground, using only his legs to keep him secure.
Andrew performing at the Merchant City Festival 2019, as part of the Moving Cities parkour summer course with Scottish Youth Theatre


I am born in a world where everything is normal. And I don’t even like the word ‘normal’, or even, ‘reality’.

Imagination is art. Even though you see it, like cars and all that, we also created them. We are the creators of imagination. Anything could be possible- if you try.

I’m Andrew Robertson. I am not anybody but myself. I would refer to myself as: a human being that wants to have fun all the time.

The work that I make: I use my imagination to help people to understand. What I want for people is to see, not from my point of view. What I want them to see is what they can accomplish. I want them to experience the same thing: I want them to have fun, just like me, but in their own way, not my way.

Any further questions, please contact Morna at or call us on 0141 552 1725

Supported by

The logo for The Robertson Trust.