A man sits in a seat in an auditorium full of red chairs. He has a laptop perched on his knees and he is smiling, with his arms up and hands wide as he uses them to explain his ideas. Photography by Becky Payne.

Throughout the first half of 2022, Sheffield Theatres, Leeds Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon have delivered an ambitious artist development project working with 24 deaf and disabled participants. Three ‘Introduction to’ courses for deaf, disabled, learning disabled and neurodiverse people were delivered to people interested in exploring playwrighting, directing and producing. These three courses were for people at the very start of their careers wanting to discover what these disciplines entail.

The three courses were led by the following practitioners and venues, with all courses led by at least one person who identifies as deaf and/or disabled and a range of deaf and disabled artists also attended sessions as guest tutors:

• Introduction to Playwriting – Led by Leanna Benjamin & Rio Matchett at Leeds Playhouse
• Introduction to Directing – Led by Ben Wilson, Tommi Bryson and Anthony Lau at Sheffield Theatres
• Introduction to Producing – Led by Paul Wilshaw and Ben Rothera at Leeds Playhouse

Each course had 8 participants. The courses culminated in rehearsals and two closed sharings in the Bramall Rock Void at Leeds Playhouse with scripts by the writers, directed by the directors with producing support from the producers. All participants received a stipend towards taking part in the courses, and access support was available for all stages of the project.


Photography by Becky Payne.

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