Make It Accessible

ARTISTS MAKING ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCE: A WORKING GROUP

Next meeting: Thursday 29th October

JUMP TO PREVIOUS EVENTS

ABOUT MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE

Are you interested in making accessible theatre? Can we help?

This is a difficult time for everyone, but we want to use this moment to think about what we want the future of Scottish theatre to look like.

We want to talk about why you are interested in making accessible work and what you think are the barriers to doing so. Whether you’re interested in creating more accessible performances, events or projects, we want to hear from you. We want to support you to come together and move forward in making accessible theatre.

This working group is for theatre makers in Scotland who have an interest in creating accessible work, whether you’re an artist, actor, dancer, director, producer, writer, choreographer or designer. All levels of experience are welcome.

The working group is facillitated by BOP and Andy Edwards, Andy is a theatre-maker, playwright and dramaturg whose recent work includes “In Burrows” – an improvised duet with Sign Language Interpreter Amy Cheskin.

HOW TO JOIN A MEETING

We will host the meeting via a video chat client called Zoom, to join the call you may have to download the app onto your phone, tablet or computer.

We understand that some people who are interested in this subject will not be able to attend the meeting for various reasons. If this is the case, please email Callum at callum@boptheatre.co.uk and you can be added to the mailing list to receive any notes that arise.

This meeting will be made accessible through British Sign Language and captioning. If you require these services please email all@boptheatre.co.uk or indicate this on the Facebook event page to confirm and we will send instructions.

ACCESS INFORMATION

For BSL select ‘Catherine King’ or ‘Yvonne Strain’ as your ‘pinned speaker.’ To select someone as your pinned speaker:

  • 1. Hover over the video you want to pin and click the icon with three dots ‘…’
  • 2. From the menu, choose ‘Pin Video’.
  • 3. To unpin click ‘Switch to Active Speaker’ in the upper left of screen.

For Captions – these will be provided by a third party website. Please click on this link prior to the meeting, this will bring up the page where the captions will appear once the meeting begins.

You will need to arrange the captions window and the Zoom window on a way on your device where you are able to access both. The reason for doing it this way is because the captions function within Zoom has a considerable lag to the point where it is not accessible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this group for?

This group is for theatre makers in Scotland (and beyond) who have an interest in creating accessible work. Whether you’re an artist, actor, dancer, director, producer, writer, choreographer or designer, we want to hear from you.

Can I join in if I’ve never made accessible theatre before?

Absolutely, you’re an important part of this conversation. By running this working group, we want to find out how we can support you to make accessible work in the future.

What if I can’t be there for the whole two hours?

We all have different schedules and responsibilities, so you can still take part if you’re not able to be there for the whole two hours. There will be an agenda, see below, and we’ll take a 10-minute break around 3pm, so you could always join us for the first or second hour. In any case, we’ll make sure you’re properly welcomed, whenever you can make it.

Will the meeting be BSL interpreted or captioned?

Yes, but please email all@boptheatre.co.uk 24 hours before the meeting is due to take place if you require BSL interpretation or captioning. 

How do I submit a question for the discussion groups?

To submit a question click this link, or email callum@boptheatre.co.uk. The full list of questions will be made available on the website so people can continue their discussions after the session if they wish. Questions will be anonymised when posed to the group.

What if I want to ask a question during the discussion group?

You can either write your question into the chat, prefaced by the letter ‘Q’, or put up your hand. You can also put your hand up digitally, using Zoom’s raise hand tool. To use it during the meeting:

  1. Click on the icon labeled “Participants” at the bottom center of your screen.
  2. At the bottom of the window on the right side of the screen, click the button labeled “Raise Hand.”

What if the Raise Hand feature doesn’t work for me?

Don’t worry – just stick your hand up and we’ll make sure to come back to you.

I’m working on my own project and I’m looking for advice. Can I talk about this during the group?

We absolutely want to hear about what you’re working on but there won’t be time for 1-to-1 consultation about projects. However, if questions do come up during the course of the working group then we’re happy to discuss them. We don’t have all the answers, but we can try and figure it out together.

What if these presentations are not relevant to my work?

Let us know what is. We want to hear from you. If you have an idea to present on a project of your own, or would like to hear from someone else about a subject you’re interested in, then email Andy on edwards.andrewneil@gmail.com

Rules of Engagement (please read before joining the meeting)

Welcome to the Artists Making Accessible Theatre working group!

  • For captions we will provide a link to a third party website, you will need to have both the captions and Zoom windows open on your desktop.
  • For BSL select the interpreter as your ‘pinned speaker.’ The interpreters for the upcoming meeting will be Catherine King and Yvonne Strain.
  • If you have a question but don’t want to ask it during a conversation then please write it in the chat, prefaced by the letter ‘Q.’ e.g. Q. How much do BSL interpreters cost? We will try to return to all your questions before the meeting ends.
  • We won’t take questions during the presentations, but we will feed them into the discussion if time allows.
  • If you want to say something use Zoom’s “Raise Hand” function to get our attention.
  • If you have a question but would prefer us to answer it via email, please tell us in the chat or email your question to all@boptheatre.co.uk
  • A transcript of this conversation will be made available to those who can’t attend. If you would prefer your contributions to be redacted, please let us know via email. 

Meeting links will be added 5 mins before each meeting. You will be prompted to “sign in for the meeting”

👉 MEETING LINK 👈

Previous Events

Make it Accessible 1: April 24th

This conversation was hosted by Birds of Paradise and facilitated by Andy Edwards.

AGENDA

2.00 PM : Introductions (10 mins)

  • Welcome to session + introduce house rules. *Everyone Together*
  • Introduction from Birds of Paradise, explaining their intention in hosting this conversation and their motivation for inviting Andy to facilitate it.

2.10 PM : Part One: How do you make accessible work? (40 mins)

  • Question 1: Who are you? What work do you make?
  • Question 2: What does making “accessible theatre” mean to you, and to your practice?

*Breakout to discuss Q1 + Q2*
*Come back together to feed back from both groups + introduce Q3* 

  • Question 3: How would – or does – a more inclusive approach change the way you work? (in logistical, financial, creative, production terms)

*Breakout to discuss Q3*

2.50 PM : Tea Break (10 mins)

3.00 PM : Part Two: How can we support your practice? (40 mins) *Everyone Together; briefly summarise and introduce Q1*

  • Question 1: What barriers do you encounter when making accessible work? Are they practical, financial, creative, societal?  *Breakout to discuss Q1* 
  • Question 2: What support do you need to overcome these barriers? How can Birds of Paradise help? *Feedback both groups together and discuss Q2 as one (it might make sense to set Future Actions before rounding up with Q3?)*
  • Question 3: What’s missing from this conversation? If we were to meet again, what needs to be discussed? *This could be directed into the post-conversation questionnaire, if there are a number of outstanding Questions in the chat?*

3.40 PM : Set Future Actions (10 mins) *Everyone Together*

  • Based on the discussion, BOP / Andy will write a list of potential future actions to support artists making accessible work. This will be shared with the group following the end-of-session.

3.50 PM : Wrap-up (10 mins) *Everyone Together*

  • Thank people for taking part.
  • Direct people to Google Questionnaire Feedback Form, which contains further opportunity to offer thoughts and opinions.
  • Supplementary information on accessible theatre-making will be made available.

Read a summary of the key points from the meeting:


Read a transcript of the whole meeting:

Make it Accessible 2: Case Studies - May 28th

This video has BSL but unfortunately it is not captioned however the full transcript of the presentations is below.

We apologise that the first few minutes of this event were not recorded.

Read a transcript of the whole meeting:

Following Make It Accessible #1, the first meeting of our working group, we invited four arts practitioners to present case studies about accessibility within their work. These case studies will consider a range of topics, from the integration of access within performance to the accessibility of entire festivals. 

AGENDA

14:00: Introductions & Re-cap last session: Welcome to session & introduce house rules. (5 mins)

14:05: Case Study 1: ‘Off-Kilter’ with Andy Arnold (Tron Theatre) & Ramesh Meyyappan (10 mins)

14:15: Q&A with Andy & Ramesh (15 mins)

14:30: Case Study 2: ‘Sherlock’ with Alyson Woodhouse (10 mins)

14:40: Q&A with Alyson (15 mins)

14:55: Tea Break (10 mins)

15:05: Case Study 3: ‘In Burrows’ with Andy Edwards & Amy Cheskin (10 mins)

15:15: Q&A with Andy & Amy (15 mins)

15:30: Case Study 4: ‘Arika‘ with Bryony McIntrye (10 mins)

15:40: Q&A with Bryony (15 mins)

15:55: Wrap up
        – Ask for suggestions for future sessions
        – Direct people to Google Questionnaire Feedback Form
        – Any supplementary information on case studies will be made available.

16:00: End

Information on Contributors:

Andy & Ramesh – ‘Off-kilter’

Ramesh Meyyappan is a theatre maker who develops performances using an eclectic mix of visual and physical theatre styles.  Andy Arnold is Artistic Director of Tron Theatre and was previously the Founder and Artistic Director of The Arches.  He likes to direct an eclectic range of work. Andy and Ramesh will discuss visual work they have made and plan to make and how they have formed a way of making theatre together on stage.

Alyson – ‘Sherlock’

Alyson Woodhouse is a blind, freelance director and dramaturg with particular interest and experience in adapting classic texts to make them accessible for blind and deaf audiences. Through sharing her experiences of adapting a Sherlock Holmes short story, Alyson will explore methods of including Audio Description and BSL into the narrative of a text.

Andy & Amy – ‘In Burrows’

Andy Edwards is a playwright and theatre-maker who makes work about language. Amy Cheskin is a sign-language interpreter with experience in interpretation for stage. Andy & Amy will discuss their experiences of working together, and what they’ve learned from their approach to integrating BSL interpretation within improvised performance.

Bryony McIntyre – ‘Arika’

Bryony McIntyre is a member of Arika a political arts organisation concerned with celebrating and supporting connections between artistic production and social change. Bryony will give a short presentation looking at access methods and interventions Arika have experimented with since their Episode 7: We Can’t Live Without Our Lives event at Tramway in 2015. 

(Left – Right) Ramesh Meyyappan in Off Kilter, image by Niall Walker / Amy Cheskin and Andy Edwards in In Burrows, image Julia Bauer / Bryony McIntyre

Make it Accessible 3: What is a Relaxed performance? - July 9th

This video has BSL but unfortunately it is not captioned.

The topic of this event was chosen because in Scotland there is currently no uniform definition of “Relaxed performance”. This term can apply to performances that: allow audience noise and movement; have reduced sensory stimulus; are for adults and babies; are for people with dementia; provide ear defenders and sunglasses; provide a quiet space; are staffed by front of house who have been given autism awareness training. The varied ways in which this term is applied makes it difficult for audiences to make an informed decision about which events will remove barriers for them. 

AGENDA

2:00 PM: Andy & Morna introduce session

2:05 PM: Presentation 1: Emma McCaffrey & Graham Eatough in conversation about ‘The Reason I Jump(National Theatre of Scotland)

2:15 PM: Presentation 2: Jonathan Carlton on an audience member’s perspective of a Relaxed Performance [Pre-recorded]

2:25 PM: Break (5 Minutes)

2:30 PM: Presentation 3: Kelsie Acton (Inclusive Practice Manager, Battersea Arts Centre) will speak about innovations in the form of relaxed performance from two disabled-led companies in Canada; CRIPSiE in their performance of ‘Careful’ and Ophira Calof in ‘Literally Titanium’.

2:40 PM: Presentation 4: Ink Asher Hemp, neurodivergent poet and performer will consider the question “Relaxed performances belong to us. What do we need in a space and how do we build that?”

2:50 PM: Break (10 Minutes)

3:00 PM: Discussion Groups facilitated by Ellie Griffiths (Artistic Director, Oily Cart) and Harry Josephine Giles

3:25 PM: Break (5 Minutes)

3:30 PM: Continuation of Discussion Groups.

3:50 PM: Andy & Morna Wrap up
        – Ask for suggestions for future sessions
        – Direct people to Google Questionnaire Feedback Form
        – Any supplementary information on case studies will be made available.

4:00 PM: End.

Not all questions were brought up in the discussion groups but below are the questions submitted by attendees:

  1. Relaxed performances often have quieter sound effects. If you are producing a relaxed performance where gunshots or loud sounds are required so the story makes sense, how do you overcome this obstacle?
  2. How can we more articulately write the essential need for any access costs into our future project applications? We have been unsuccessful in the past with an application for an access budget for our events for young people via Creative Scotland Access/Diversity Funds.
  3. Is it a problem if relaxed spaces (say as part of a festival) end up being used by people who aren’t neurodiverse? Is this something that needs to be managed?
  4. How is creating a ‘Relaxed Performance’ of my show likely to change the lighting design? What sort of things should I be thinking about?
  5. If you are a theatre maker – what are the main barriers to you making a Relaxed performance?
  6. How do I market a Relaxed Performance in a way that will reach – and is accessible to – neurodiverse audiences?
  7. Who should I speak to if I want advice on how to make a Relaxed Performance of my show? What should I pay them?
  8. Is it possible to tour Relaxed Performances outside of major venues? E.g. Rural touring?
  9. How could creating a Relaxed Performance affect how I tell stories?
  10. I can’t afford to make my event as Relaxed as e.g. Disney’s Lion King, what are the key factors I should think about when working with a limited budget?

Make it Accessible 4: Finding Your Audience - Sep 10th

This video has BSL but unfortunately it is not captioned but there is a transcript available below.

Read a transcript of the whole meeting:

Our previous Make It Accessible online events have taught us that there are lots of people interested in making accessible work, and that there are many examples of innovative practice throughout Scotland. Following our last event, we’ve received many questions about how to develop relationships with disabled audiences, and how to translate the accessibility of your work into the accessibility of its promotion. 

We don’t have all the answers, but we want to bring people together to share their experiences and discuss your questions. For Make It Accessible #4, we’ve invited case studies in audience development and marketing campaigns, focused on high-profile disability-led work. We will be hosting presentations from Ramps on the Moon, Take Me Somewhere and ourselves, Birds of Paradise. See below for more detail on what these presentations will contain.

AGENDA:

2:00 PMAndy & BOP introduce session
2:05 PMPresentation 1: Ramps on the Moon
2:25 PMPresentation 2: Take Me Somewhere
2:45 PMPresentation 3: Birds of Paradise
3:00 PMBreak (10 Minutes)
3:10 PMQ&A Panel with Presenters, facilitated by Andy & BOP
3:30 PMBreak (5 Minutes)
3:35 PM  Continuation of Q&A Panel
4:00 PMBreak (5 Minutes)
4:05 PM Open discussion: The Q&A panel will end but we will keep the Zoom open for further discussion.
4:25 PM Wrap up:
– Ask for suggestions for future sessions
– Direct people to Google Questionnaire Feedback Form
– Any supplementary information on case studies will be made available.
4:30 PMEnd of session.

Read a bit more about each presentation below

Ramps on the Moon:

We will talk about our experience of marketing the Ramps shows, the decisions we’ve taken around messaging those shows in terms of the company and the access provision. We’ll talk about what’s worked in this choice to market disabled talent ‘by stealth’ and what’s been a challenge. We will also reflect on how this has impacted on partners’ other Mainstage and studio programming.

Take Me Somewhere:

Take Me Somewhere will talk about our approach to accessible marketing for an experimental performance festival as an act of hospitality, including creating user friendly, playful and stylised methods for sharing access information and building audiences. Key points will include maintaining brand identity, using multiple communication methods and the importance of developing trust over time.

Birds of Paradise:

Using our 2018 production of My Left Right Foot – The Musical as a case study – will speak about the outreach and engagement work we conducted during the development of it show, and about materials and resources we produced for audiences that sat alongside the piece.

Following the presentations we will have a Q&A panel with the invited speakers, facilitated by ourselves. This will be a space for you to ask questions about their work and discuss what you’re doing in your own projects. If you would like to submit a question in advance, please email all@boptheatre.co.uk. We’ll try our best to get through everyone’s questions.