Fair Access Go North!
Dingwall Academy and Eden Court
Fair Access enjoyed a road trip to the Highlands, with Mark Stevenson and Ramesh Meyyappan from the BA Performance and graduate of that course Benedetta Zanetti. Our mission? We had several!
Just before the winter holidays, we were delighted to work at Dingwall Academy with ten pupils, most of whom are deaf and others who are hearing but learning British Sign Language which is taught in the school. The group were almost all new to Drama but threw themselves into games and creating characters and scenes. We had a great morning and Ramesh told the group, ‘We really enjoyed working with you, it was really lovely. You’re really creative and playful and fun.’ Mark added, ‘Drama’s about being brave, standing up and trying something and I’m really impressed with what you did. For that kind of bravery, I want to commend all of you and during the morning I saw some beautiful moments.’
Whilst at Dingwall Academy we also spread the word about Fair Access to teachers including Art + Design, Woodwork, Technology, Dance, Music, Guidance and the senior management team.
We also visited Eden Court, leading deaf awareness training for fifteen staff members including Engagement, front-of-house and audience managers, restaurant and bar, box office, freelance arts facilitators, and National 5 Drama BSL interpreter. This session explored a range of topics including the best terminology to use when speaking about users of BSL or deaf people, BSL signed and captioned performances at Eden Court, how to attract deaf audiences and the value of programming work by deaf artists. Everyone signed their name and learned key phrases in BSL relevant to their job area, such as, ‘do you know where your seats are?’ It was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon with a lot of laughter as well as learning.
Then the next day, we returned to Eden Court, which was buzzing with audiences and shoppers enjoying a Christmas craft market that spread over several floors of this lovely building. Instead of browsing, we were welcomed to a National 5 Drama class, comprised of pupils from several secondary schools in the Highlands, which don’t teach the subject. In the group were two talented pupils from Dingwall Academy, one deaf and both BSL users. Ramesh taught visual storytelling techniques and Mark shared ways to physicalise text. The aim was to provide new creative tools for devising and performing, and the group produced some very beautiful work. Fair Access is very excited to be working in the Highlands and developing such great partnerships with Eden Court Theatre and Dingwall Academy.
A huge thank you to everyone who got involved and made us feel very welcome. We can’t wait to return to see you all again.
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If you would like to know more about the work Fair Access do, head over to our website at: rcs.ac.uk/fair-access