A Celebration of Learning Disability Culture in the Tees Valley

ARC Stockton 1 & 2 February 2023


​January 2023 Exhibition and lead-in workshop programme

We are delighted to announce Our Stomping Grounds: A Celebration of Learning Disability Culture which will be taking place at ARC Stockton on 1 and 2 February and is the culmination of a new project for Full Circle and their amazing outdoor performance at SIRF in the summer of 2022. The celebration consists of a workshop programme, a series of Masterclasses, an exhibition and then our event in February. The main emphasis has been to explore what it feels like to belong and how important it is to be connected which is particularly resonant with our experiences of the last three years.


We are delighted to be holding a series of arts masterclasses – Full Circle and Friends will be developing their skills alongside some of the region’s most talented artists.

Our first masterclass is on 23 November and is with musician Gary Bowden who will create an amazing experiential event with music, percussion, lyric writing and recording some original sound work.

​Other masterclasses include movement and performance, creative writing and visual art. We’ll share photographs from the sessions through social media.


Our exhibition aims to celebrate learning disability culture from across the Tees Valley. Learning disabled people don’t want to be hidden away in the shadows – we’ve all had too much of that in recent times. This exhibition will feature work from Full Circle, from wonderful writers talking about what it’s like to have a Stomping ground, photography will highlight favourite spots in our local stomping grounds and there will be a series of group portraits of learning disabled people involved in a range of arts activities including music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film-making and photography.

Exhibition opens to the public on 5 January until 2 February 2023. There will be an exhibition event on February 1 January as part of the Festival at 2.30pm. It’s free to attend but booking is essential.

Festival Programme

Wednesday 1 February 2023

1.30 – 2.15pm THEATRE SHOW – Stomping Ground by Full Circle Theatre Company

Performance in ARC’s Main Theatre. Tickets are needed and are on a Pay What You Decide basis.

​Hot off the sell out success at Stockton International Riverside Festival, we are bringing Stomping Ground to ARC. It feels like you’ve finally forged your own Stomping Ground, and the wider world is beginning to accept you, so a sense of belonging begins to grow. But then the world is turned upside down in every way imaginable and no one can fix it. Full Circle invites you into a lesser seen world of lesser told stories, revealing that the communities we create can be magical. Theirs is a story about the fight for a rightful place for learning disabled people told with wit, pathos, and celebration, using their signature visual style.

To book a ticket to watch Stomping Ground in the Theatre, please click here.

To book a ticket to watch Stomping Ground online, please click here.

2.30 – 3.15pm ADVENTURES IN DRAMA WORKSHOP (Private session)

​Come along to this fun-filled workshop to learn more about Full Circle’s style of drama, facilitated by the group. There will be lots to join in with and a supply of hats, costume pieces and props to explore and see what happens. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to give things a go.

3.15 – 4.15pm EXHIBITION EVENT – 2nd Floor Gallery at ARC. Free but booking essential.

​​Our exhibition celebrates learning disability culture and talent from across the Tees Valley, and features poetry, creative writing, photography, group portraits of artistic groups and a feature on Full Circle Theatre Company’s work over the last ten years.

To book your place please email [email protected]

Thursday 2 February 2023

10 – 11am BOLLYWOOD DANCE WORKSHOP (Private Session)

​We are delighted to announce that the brilliant actor, writer, director and dancer Umar Butt will be leading this workshop. Umar is a firm favourite at ARC and will create a lively start to the day with some amazing dance moves.  We can’t wait to get everyone up and moving to a fantastic soundtrack and see if we can create a little routine together. Great fun, great music and togetherness. No experience is necessary, just the enthusiasm to try it out.  ​

10 – 11am VISUAL ART WORKSHOP (Private Session)

​We are thrilled that this workshop will be led by the incredibly talented artist Carol Lonsdale. No experience is necessary for this workshop. We’ll be hosting it like an ‘open studio’ where you come along and just choose some of the materials on offer to create a unique piece of art or craft. Our team will be there to support you with ideas in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

11.15am – 12.15pm THE SHORT, SHORT FILM FESTIVAL. ARC Cinema. Free but booking essential.

​We are delighted to be sharing films from local groups and artists, including the phenomenal Shoot Your Mouth Off Films based in Hartlepool who have the biggest learning disability film following in the world on YouTube where their films have been viewed over 12 million times. It’s so exciting to share local peoples’ work on the big screen.

To book your place please email [email protected]

12.15 – 1.15pm THE BIG PACKED LUNCH – everyone is invited to bring their packed lunches and eat together at ARC while we all have a bit of a break and a bit of a socialise. We’ll continue to be as safe as possible with plenty of space. We’ll also have a quiet area if anyone needs a quiet break.

1.30 – 2.30pm ARCTIC PIRANHA’S DAYTIME RAVE. The Point. Free but booking essential.

We are delighted to be able to dance in the daytime. The ARCTIC PIRANHA DJ Crew are on board, planning the event and arranging the playlist – they might even take requests. Let’s get on the dancefloor and raise the roof!

To book a ticket for ARCtic Piranha’s Daytime Rave, please click here.

2.30 – 3.30pm CABARET. ARC’s Main Theatre. Free but booking essential.

​Closing our celebrations in style is a cabaret packed full of music, dance, poetry, drama, monologues and comedy. The cabaret stars local learning disabled artists including a fun dance routine from Full Circle, a meaningful drama vignette from JIGSAW, singer Emily Wilkinson will perform and local band, the amazing Jambuddies will be rocking the house plus many more to be announced. We can’t wait!

To book a ticket for the Stomp! Cabaret, please click here.

FESTIVAL PASS – if you would like to book a festival pass that includes Stomping Ground, the ARCtic Piranha Daytime Rave, and the Stomp! Cabaret, please click here. You will only have to make one booking, and someone from ARC’s Box Office will contact you to confirm how many of these three events you would like to attend, and any access requirements you may have.