Access All Areas and Madhouse
Madhouse is a production by Access All Areas theatre company.
The company mainly works with people with a learning disability. Most of whom are my friends from Central School of Speech and Drama.
I started working with them properly once I left Central School. Madhouse Re: Exit was actually my first proper production since drama school.
I have done two group performances at Chats Palace, where I played the part of a devil.
I've also done another two group performances as part of the ensemble, and assisted the stage manager with other tasks.
For Madhouse, which we staged at Shoreditch Town Hall, I played the part of one of the hospital patients, and had to take the audience from one scene to the next.
I really enjoy working with Access All Areas because I think they are a good company and they give me the opportunity to play a wide variety of characters. I also enjoy working with them because it's an opportunity for me to hang out with my friends who are also part of the company.
Blue Sky Actors
I also work with a company called Blue Sky Actors who are the resident theatre company at Stratford Circus Arts Centre in London.
The company is for actors with learning disabilities and learning difficulties and I am their main lead actor.
Advice for getting into the arts
If you are a person with a learning disability and are looking to get involved in the arts I would suggest going to your local theatre and finding out what's going on and if there's anything you can join in on.
If you're able to, searching online is also a great way to find drama groups specifically for people with a learning disability.
If you think you need some support you can ask your teachers, friends, family or colleagues for help to find opportunities in the arts, or if you have a support worker they could assist you with finding and attending a theatre group.
Other useful tips
When you're trying to learn your cues and lines, I find it useful to write them out on paper to help memorise them.
It can also be helpful if you're able to watch videos of other actors to try and pick up different tips and techniques.
If you feel nervous, try to stay calm and focused and think about what you are doing. Learn your lines and practice them over and over again; the more you do it, the less nervous you'll become!
Companies working with actors with disabilities
If you're looking to get involved with a theatre company, here are a few that I have worked with, based in the London area:
- Blue Sky Actors - Stratford Circus Art Centre's resident theatre company for actors with learning disabilities and difficulties
- Chicken Shed - an inclusive theatre company based in North London
- Face Front - work to create accessible theatre for schools and the public, with disabled and non-disabled performers.