The good ship Fortune has set sale, at least for now! Role Shift had a very successful run at Oran Mor and Ayr Gaiety during May. Thank you to both venues, we really enjoyed our time with you. Birds of Paradise have three core aims, all of which look to increase the profile and opportunities for deaf and disabled artists and work. With this in mind Role Shift had a number of outreach aspects attached to it.

1) First of all, we had two wonderful assistants come on board – Alice Langley, a director who is currently on the Classical and Contemporary Text MA at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, joined us as an Assistant Director. Alice hadn’t worked in this way before but greatly enjoyed the process and as you can see from her blog gained a lot from the experience.

Dieneke Bittermann, joined us as part of her three month’s trip to Glasgow to learn more about how we make accessible theatre in Scotland. Dieneke has worked in her homeland, the Netherlands, with companies including The National Theatre, however she has found that mainland Europe is much further behind when it comes to access. She is planning on returning to the Netherlands and using the skills she has learnt here to help promote and create accessible theatre. Dieneke joined us in an access support role and was a great help for the company throughout the process.

2) We ran an open rehearsal on the first Friday of rehearsals. It was well attended with around 30 people in the room. Attendees included freelancers and small start-ups through to the national organisations. We showed a couple of snippets of the piece and then had a Q&A session. We touched on a number of subjects including how access does not always have to be an expensive addition, showing that adjustments in attitudes and small changes in the way of working can make a big difference. There was a large discussion about the role of the sign language interpreter, Natalie spoke elegantly about the profession and her experience within the industry. We also live streamed the event and you can see the full open rehearsal online here – https://www.facebook.com/birdsofparadisetheatre/videos

3) This Blog! Alice very kindly blogged about the rehearsal process and was able to give a viewpoint from someone new to accessible theatre. Alice wrote wonderfully about the process, accessible theatre as a whole and spoke to Lesley Hart, the writer of Role Shift. You can read all her posts here.

4) We held a Q&A session after our final show at Ayr Gaiety. 90% of the audience stayed and they provided very positive comments about the depth of the piece and how good it was to see the sign language on stage. One gentleman commented “I came with the wife out of duty…but loved it, it was very funny and I didn’t know if I could laugh or not”.

5) Birds of Paradise also brought on board two burgeoning disabled artists to support the production, Alyson Woodhouse who consulted on audio description and covered for Garry during the development, while he was in Russia and Michelle Rolfe as producer.
Birds of Paradise are delighted that Role Shift was able to bring accessible theatre to new audiences and to highlight the process of making such theatre to industry professionals.

If you would like to find out more about the production or the way Birds of Paradise work please contact us at all@boptheatre.co.uk or on 0141 552 1725.