As we head in earnest into creating We Will Be Happy Here, Just Jones & is excited about opening our process up into a new way of working. Now that we’re doing it, it is of course startlingly obvious but as a small company living in an ableist society, we hold our hands up. We haven’t yet engaged people with physical or sensory disabilities to date.
We knew from the starting point with this production that we wanted to make the show fully accessible to audiences. Then 2 R&Ds later and especially the one that ended up taking place up a flight of stairs without a lift (don’t ask), I realised that writing and creating a world that functions on the basis of equality and equity has not only to invite people with disabilities into the room as audiences and workshop participants, it also has to include and offer representation on stage.
So now I’m learning how this goes. I’m learning by doing and I’m learning by numbers (lots of them, hard to fix and harder to raise and new budget lines …..).
The numbers are frightening to an independent project-funded company but the project is unthinkable without the people who need the support. So we need the numbers and we’ll conquer the terrain including Access to Work – there isn’t sadly a fund called Access to Leisure (or not that I can find).
More fun and more important are the people, their creativity and how we work together. So I’m very grateful to Kate Baiden at Graeae, Mandy Colleran, Athena Stevens, Eleanor Margolies and others for their input. I think I’ll be coming back to you with more daft questions.
In the meantime, Kate shared this with me by the irrepressible Jenny Sealey on support during auditions.
And Graeae’s own guide to auditions: