Sense of Space, a multi-sensory performance by deafblind artists and their support staff, took place in a new theatre in Archway.
Working with professional theatre makers and teachers, deafblind artists and care staff developed new ways of making theatre, telling stories, and performing to an audience.
Twenty-four artists from diverse backgrounds and with a range of skills took part in fully accessible, inclusive and exploratory workshops for ten weeks. The artists explored creative communication and drama techniques and developed their characters and the story as the improvisation progressed.
The result was an interactive performance where the audience physically followed the artists as they moved in the theatre space singing sea shanties, banging their drums and dancing against the backdrop of a desert island. Props like UV paint, drums, coconuts and sand were used to create a multi-sensory experience for both the performers and the audience demonstrating the power of non-verbal communication.
Nic Vogelpoel, Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense, said: “Often for deafblind people, the opportunity to participate in the arts, either as a maker or as an audience member is limited. Accessibility of information and facilities is restricted; acoustics, design and lighting create an environment that is not functional or suitable for deafblind people.
“These obstacles inspired us to build an immersive performance blurring the distinction between audience and performers as well as between deafblind artists and their support staff.”
Marcus Innis, one of the performers, said: “I joined Sense of Space to overcome personal barriers and experience what people in my situation were experiencing. The workshops gave me the confidence to deal with my sight and hearing difficulties and not try to conceal them in order to fit in. It was a great boost being involved in a project where the focus was always on our talents rather than our disabilities.”