ARC Stockton Arts Centre

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ARC select recipient to benefit from disabled artist residency

A learning disabled writer, producer and performer has been selected for a professional disabled artist residency at ARC, which will help to strengthen links with disabled communities across the North.

Paul Wilshaw, who is originally from Dorset but based in Bradford, was selected by the panel after submitting a successful application, and will now have the opportunity to spend time at the Stockton venue to develop a brand new show before it is performed to the public.

He will be developing A Long Way From Home, a story about a learning disabled man in his early thirties on a physical and emotional journey of discovery to find out where he fits in the world.

The residency falls under ARC’s Cultural Shift programme, a three year funded project which involves disabled people at every level.

Paul hopes that the subject of his new show will help forge an important link between disabled communities in Stockton and Bradford, helping to promote the importance of people coming together in different parts of the country to discuss mental health through an artistic medium.

He commented: “I feel absolutely honoured to be chosen as the recipient of the 2017 Cultural Shift residency scheme. It is a brilliant opportunity for myself and my project, and having the support of ARC is amazing. It just feels great to have people believe in the work I am about to create as much as I do.

“This show will involve disabled artists at every level of development from inception to production. It will bring people from Stockton and Bradford together in a positive way which will hopefully help increase disability awareness.”

“The work will explore the difficult issue of mental health and how it affects people with learning disabilities as well as people from all walks of life. The aim is to talk openly about this hidden subject and provoke thought and understanding in audiences, and challenge their perceptions. I am keen to connect with the wider community to tell my story.”

Paul is currently an Artist at leading Bradford-based learning disabled theatre company Mind the Gap, who brought Contained to ARC in 2015.