Honor Hoskins: How mask theatre company Vamos are becoming more accessible to Deaf performers and audiences

Posted on July 27, 2016

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I’m the Marketing and Development Manager for Vamos Theatre, the UK’s leading full mask theatre company, and in February I wrote a blog about our efforts to make our theatre more accessible and inclusive to the Deaf Community.

We began with a detailed consultation with Deaf arts practitioners and interpreters, inviting our consultants to feedback on the accessibility of our artistic work, as well as our marketing, and workshop content and delivery.

We worked with Emily Howlett and Lara Steward from PAD Productions; interpreter  Sarah Gatford; Aimee Cockle and Katherene Borland from Multi-Duo; Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford from DeDrama Theatre; and actors Steve Collins, Sami Thorpe and Alix Adams.

It was a mutually informative, creative and honest process, and we learnt so much.

In a great step forward, we’ve now been awarded GfA funding from Arts Council England to develop the accessibility of our work further.

We believe passionately that as well as making our work as accessible as we can to Deaf audiences, Deaf performers and workshop leaders should be part of the Vamos team.

The funding will allow us to train Deaf practitioners to deliver full mask workshops, and to employ a Deaf performer during the research and development of our new touring show.

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This is an exciting time for Vamos. We’ve just finished a bestselling tour of The Best Thing to over 50 UK venues, and have been invited to perform Finding Joy at Assembly Halls, Edinburgh from August 4th-14th as part of the Fringe Festival.

The funding we’ve received from Arts Council England means we can work further with our deaf consultants on ways to be genuinely inclusive, and share full mask as a style of theatre that’s accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences alike.

If you’re at Edinburgh this August, or know people who are, help us spread the word!

WHERE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Rainy Hall, Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh
WHEN: August 4th – 14th 2016 at 16:30 (running time:75 mins)
BOOK: 01316 233030  or www.assemblyfestival.com/event/316/

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Posted in: Honor Hoskins