Driven by a vision of an Ireland which recognises the power of human connection and the right of each and every child to experience the unique ability of the arts to create this connection, I aim to ignite the imaginations of extraordinary audiences through responsive, beautiful, connective theatre adventures made especially for them and with them.
My commitment, my passion and my mission is
- creating high quality theatre adventures for all of our children, however young they may be or however profoundly disabled they may be perceived to be.
- developing these theatre adventures in close creative consultation with these under-served audiences and the adults who live and work with them so that not only do these experiences connect with them and how they experience the world but that they are directly informed and inspired by them.
- advocating for this work and these audiences
- building networks and partnerships that extend, enrich and embed this work in our society
In 2012, whilst creating my very first show (and the first in Ireland) for children with complex needs, I was doing some initial creative consultation in a classroom and, over the course of a few days, these children revealed to me what it is that I think theatre is – one human being connecting with another; and therefore, what my job is – to create the optimum conditions for this connection in every way possible.
Connection is my lodestar
Inspired by early years neuroscience, particularly by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk who I am privileged to have both as a friend and as an advocate for my work, every single detail of how I create the work is guided by and seen through the prism of the possibilities of connection between one human being and another.
The micro – every single detail of every single encounter, every single show is informed by the imperative to seek connection.
The macro – strategically and organically actively building networks of diverse partners – within the arts sector, with schools, with a wide range of non-arts organisations who work with my audiences and advocate on their behalf.
Science and politics is the frame I chose for articulating my practice
The science of connection, of attachment theory, of creating spaces that are free of distraction whilst being full of beauty in order to make the optimum conditions for engagement, for connection with and for audiences whose cognitive processing requires it. The science of creating a situation where audience members, however young they may be or however profoundly disabled they may be perceived to be have genuine agency in choosing their own personal journey through the adventure
The politics of work that is a sublime marriage of excellence and accessibility. It is one of the things I’m proudest of that a show of mine that played some of the most challenging neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland where families would not traditionally access the arts was exactly the same show in every single detail as the show that played off-Broadway. The politics of creating a space that recognises, respects and celebrates the unique individuality of each and every audience member, how young they may be or however profoundly disabled they may be perceived to be.
Beauty is the alchemy I aim to create through the potent mixture of all of the above.