September presented me with a surprise opportunity to work with the amazing sound artist and director Peader Kirk and artist and activist Gigi Argyropoulou, who were in residence at ARC for two weeks to create an exciting new piece of theatre for Stockton based on the stories of local people and matching them up with iconic speeches of hope for a better future.
It was a walking piece, which occupied public spaces around the town. The piece was an invitation to listen to each other, to engage with political issues, and to enliven debate and action in the community.
Peader has worked with groups of disabled people before and was committed to including disability equality in his work at Stockton. It was the perfect opportunity to introduce some of the ideas of Cultural Shift to the local artists who were working with Peader as part of their professional development, and to see if there were wider ways to influence the work.
I spent a great morning with six artists exploring the history and cultural experiences of disabled people and looking at how to make existing work accessible. It brought about great discussion and a fantastic outcome was that one of the artists, who is a Deaf actor, became one of the actors in the final piece.