Led by a dynamic director and producer team, Jayne Williams and Tracy Radford, Unanima uses theatre to work with young adults in Mansfield who have a variety of learning disabilities, from Autism Spectrum Disorder to Down's syndrome. The company recently performed their show Love. Life. No Sat Nav to great acclaim, a devised work which communicates the stories, scenarios and experiences of an integrated cast. Last Autumn, Unanima became New Perspectives' Associate Company, a partnership designed to help the former, younger company grow and develop and to increase theatre opportunities available to creatives in the East Midlands.
New Perspectives applied for the RTYDS grant after identifying that opportunities for creative leadership development amongst theatre makers with disabilities remain rare. The RTYDS, whose alumni include theatre director Rupert Goold and television and film director Ken Loach, is the UK's foremost scheme for director training committed to providing career defining opportunities. The Introduction to Directing course will take place at Unanima's fully equipped studio space at the Old Library, Mansfield, and offers participants a chance to work alongside set, lighting and sound designers, as well as taking charge of three professional actors. New Perspectives' Artistic Director Jack McNamara said:
'Having a disability or learning difficulty should not be a barrier to running a rehearsal room, and this course will be specifically aimed at equipping people with the skills, strategies and confidence to begin making the theatre that they want to make. RTYDS was the scheme that I trained on and in its current form it is genuinely making a difference to what theatre in the future will look like.'
Jayne and Tracy said about the upcoming workshops,
'We were delighted to be invited to become Associate Artists with New Perspectives Theatre Company in the autumn of last year; an exciting partnership which is already bringing fantastic new opportunities for our ensemble company to engage with. We use an inclusive devising process to create our work and so our performers are also theatre makers with an active interest in all aspects. New Perspectives being awarded RTYDS to work with us to provide professional insights into directing theatre, is a unique opportunity which we will fully embrace, to develop and shape the artistic talent of our integrated cast.'
New Perspectives is the leading touring theatre company in the East Midlands, producing up to four new shows a year, ranging from adaptations, new writing and revivals as well as staging site-specific events in rural locations. A major focus of the company is developing emerging theatre talent in the East Midlands region, through training and mentoring programmes, industry masterclasses, writer opportunities and a trainee director post.