A Little Cog, ARC Stockton and Northern Stage co-commission
Mandy Colleran has been involved in Disability Arts since the 1980s. She was a founder member of the comedy trio No Excuses which produced the legendary piece Know My Place, still available to view on youtube. Mandy was also a founder of North West Disability Arts Forum, later becoming it's director. She won a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dadafest in 2007. She was involved in Kaite O'Reilly's In Water I'm Weightless for National Theatre of Wales and has had a long career as a speaker, feminist and campaigner for disability rights.
Liz Carr is known to millions for playing Clarissa Mullery in the BBC's Silent Witness for 8 years but Liz is many things. She is an actor, comedian and disability rights activist. Others will know her from the Disabled/Deaf women’s comedy group, Nasty Girls or the BBC Ouch! podcast with Mat Fraser or her stand up with Abnormally Funny People, her Criptease routines or her passionate opposition to legalising assisted suicide through both campaigning and her creation of the show, Assisted Suicide - The Musical.
Bea Webster is a deaf actor who trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is an actor, drag artist, writer and speaker on Deaf equality. She is currently in rehearsals with the Royal Shakespeare Company for The Winter's Tale, and starred in Red Ladder's Mother Courage and Her Children, and Kaite O'Reilly's Peeling which toured in the UK last year. Bea is passionate about classical and contemporary texts in English and BSL, has published a poem in both BSL and English titled Long Lost Lover, about her birthplace of Thailand.
Vici is Artistic Director of Little Cog, writing and touring nationally a number of pieces of work including, Butterfly which was named Best One Person Play by the British Theatre Guide, Another England, Lighthouse and her recent commissions The Wrong Woman Discussions and Siege for ARC Stockton and Home Manchester can still be seen online as part of the Homemaker's commissions. She is a lifelong feminist and activist, regularly speaking and campaigning on disability rights matters and the role of culture and the arts in equality. She is a founding member of both Disconsortia and We Shall Not Be Removed.
A Brilliant Time For A Change - An offer to North East England venues, theatre companies and organisations
Change makes us feel refreshed, optimistic and energised for action.
Why not harness some of the opportunities afforded us by our strange new world and create islands of hope and energy in our work around change, through a different way of looking at things.
You work in the arts – you’re already an innovator. Why not take part in these unique Little Cog Masterclasses to look at how we begin to remove barriers to the arts for disabled people in our communities. We’d love to support you to understand what this can look like and share some simple things you can do to bring in richer stories and larger audiences of disabled people.
What has lockdown taught us and brought us about how we approach a safe re-opening of art ad culture, and where does art and culture now sit? Is it only in buildings or can we make local and local and global connections through the power of the digital. What might new models of practice look like?
And why is any of this important?
We all know the stats aren’t great around the representation of disabled people in employment on the arts, in getting work programmed and in being involved in organisational decision-making. We reckon you already know it’s time to take stock of disability equality practices in the arts, and to improve this we’d like to give you and your organisation some information and skills on how to do that. And we’ll also share how to tap into a rich seam of untold stories from new perspectives and build new relationships with us and other disabled artists.
Our Disability Equality Masterclasses are led by Little Cog’s artistic director Vici Wreford-Sinnott, who is a key figure and leading voice in the UK Disability Arts sector. The two Masterclasses are identical so you only need to sign up for one and they are aimed at North East England based venues, organisations, and companies and would be useful for artistic and executive directors, management teams, producers, senior decision-makers, and programmers. It will be supportive, non-finger pointing and solution focussed. And something that starts with a pub quiz can’t be that difficult to take part in surely!
Dates and Times
Tuesday 15 September 1.30-3.30pm
Tuesday 22 September 1.30-3.30pm
Some kind words from ARC, with whom we developed Cultural Shift, a complete model for embedding disabled-led work into the heart of your art.
“We were genuinely challenged to rethink and change the way we work with disabled people. New language, new approaches and gaining a new knowledge of disability that helped us understand why we need to do things a certain way, rather than just changing because we want to tick boxes. People have seen really brilliant work and had their own perceptions challenged by the work they have seen.”
Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive, ARC
If you are interested in a larger team taking part in these masterclasses, for example for your whole organisation or for a significant number of members of your team, we can schedule a separate session for you. There may be cost implications but we do have some subsidy to support this.
Booking Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-equality-masterclass-with-vici-wreford-sinnott-tickets-11727931258
More about Little Cog here on our website www.littlecog.co.uk
Our latest production
Please encourage the people you work with to check out our Funny Peculiar online launch party on Thursday 24 September. Booking essential. Written and directed by Vici Wreford-Sinnott, this is Little Cog's latest lockdown production as part of their Staging Our Futures programme. The piece stars Liz Carr of Silent Witness fame, Mandy Colleran, a comedian and activist, and Bea Webster who is currently an associate of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Playwright's Studio of Scotland.
Zsa Zsa, Raquelle, Blanche and Cuba are in quarantine – four disabled women locked down, locked in, shut up and shouted down. While the rest of the nation is in meltdown, it takes a lot to phase this quartet. The new terrain is worrying and frustrating but these women are prepared - perhaps they have waited for a moment like this their whole lives.
In a sequence of four original, cross-cutting, witty and wise monologues, broadcasting from their own homes during quarantine, these women are myth-busters giving their all to expose the lie of vulnerability.
Image description - four portraits of disabled women. From left to right there are Liz Carr who is a white woman in her forties with a dark brown bob haircut, who is wearing a black top. Next is Vici Wreford-Sinnott, a white woman in her fifties. She has blond spiky hair and has a red scarf round her neck. Next to Vici is Bea Webster who is a woman of dual heritage, Thai and Scottish, with long brown hair and a red top. She is in her late twenties. And at the right is Mandy Colleran, a white woman in her fifties with long hair and a black top with butterflies on it.