The British Council is delighted to announce an inclusive theatre project entitled In Touch as part of a long-term programme, ‘Inclusion in the Arts’ in Russia and the UK.

The project, produced in collaboration with Inclusion Theatre Company and Graeae Theatre Company, is a new, international version of the Russian production Touch-Ables, which premiered in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim with a nomination for the prestigious Russian ‘Golden Mask’ theatre award.

The project, which began in May 2017, has involved a creative team from Russia and the UK. Graeae’s Artistic Director, Jenny Sealey, is involved in the new production, as well as two deaf-blind actresses from the UK, Zara-Jayne Arnold and Raji Gopalakrishnan. Project participants have been involved in devising the new play, which is about the emotional rollercoaster of being human, how we each navigate our lives and what happens when different worlds collide and unites. They have also participated in public events around best practice in inclusive programming.

The project will culminate with a premiere of In Touch on 14 October 2017 at the National Theatre in the UK and in St Petersburg in November 2017 during the VI International Cultural Forum. The production will feature actors from Russia and the UK

As part of the forum, the British Council and the ‘So-edinenie’ (“Connection”) Foundation will organise a section on inclusive projects and accessibility in cultural institutions.

Events

Partners (Russia)

Centre of Creative Projects “Inclusion”

Centre of Creative Projects “Inclusion” was created with the support of So-edinenie Foundation. The main goals of the Centre are: development of professional inclusive theatre in Russia and its international showcase, creation of unique theatrical projects, creation of the system of inclusive education, development of “accessible arts” programme in theatres and museums, promoting inclusive arts in its various forms amongst different audiences.

The centre has four fields of development: “Inclusion.School”, “Inclusion.Theatre”, “Inclusion.Museum”and “Inclusion.Laboratory”.

Museum of Russian Impressionism

Opened to the public in May 2016, the museum is located in the Bolshevik Factory, a historical perfume and confectionery complex built in 1887 in Moscow. The museum’s permanent exhibition comprises impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, coming from the private collection of businessman Boris Mints, including paintings by prominent Russian painters  Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov, Stanislav Jukovskiy and Igor Grabar, Konstantin Yuon and Boris Kustodiev, Pyotr Konchalovsky and Alexander Gerasimov.

The mission of the museum is for Russian art, and Russian impressionism in particular, to become a topic of conversation in Russia and abroad.  The museum has gained the respect of museum community and is a member of ICOM.

State Theatre of Nations

2006 marked a new era in the history of the State Theatre of Nations, with the arrival of a new creative team led by award-winning artistic director, Evgeny Mironov. The theatre today has no resident company and each production is tailor made – a production style unique to both Moscow and Russia. The theatre’s main objective is to establish a collaborative dialogue with the top theatres on the world stage. The State Theatre of Nations’ repertoire features productions staged by leading theatre directors worldwide.

Deaf-blind Support Foundation So-edinenie (Connection)

Founded at the panel session of National Council of the Strategic Initiatives Agency under the guidance of the Russian President V.V.Putin So-edinenie procures systematic changes in the field of support and social integration of people with simultaneous impairment of vision and hearing. The mission of the Foundation is to become an intermediate between the world of deaf-blind people and the world of people who can see and hear, develop and unite successful solutions and practices that provide deaf-blind people with an opportunity for self-fulfilment, development and integration into the society.

Partners (UK)

Jenny Sealey

Jenny Sealey has been Graeae’s Artistic Director since 1997. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours and became an Artistic Advisor for Unlimited 2012 Festival.

Jenny co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings (GDIF). She also won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award and was named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club h.Club100 2012 list of the most influential people in the creative industries. Since 2012 Jenny has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Drama from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Performing Arts from Middlesex University and a Fellowship at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Graeae Theatre Company

Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre – breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing D/deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Artistically led by Jenny Sealey MBE, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the creative integration of sign language, audio description and captioning, which engages with both disabled and non-disabled audiences. Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre.

Graeae develops the next generation of D/deaf and disabled artists through groundbreaking programmes and courses including: ‘Write to Play’, a bold initiative committed to developing new writers in collaboration with the most creative minds in the industry and ‘Ensemble’, a work-based learning programme for D/deaf and disabled artists aged between 18 and 22. Throughout the year, Graeae runs workshops and training programmes internationally from Brazil to Bangladesh.

Graeae works extensively with young people through its outreach programme. Workshops and residencies run by our pool of D/deaf and disabled facilitators in a variety of education settings help to build new audiences engage young creative minds and empower young disabled artists.

Sense

Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives. Their expertise in supporting individuals with communication needs benefits people of all ages, as well as their families and carers. Sense provide information and advice, offer a wide range of flexible services and campaign passionately for the rights of the people they serve. 

National Theatre

The National Theatre is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. They produce productions on the South Bank in London each year, ranging from re-imagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The National’s work is seen on tour throughout the UK, in London’s West End, internationally (including on Broadway) and in collaborations and co-productions with theatres across the country.

Across 2015-2016, the NT staged 34 productions and gave 3,134 performances in the UK and internationally. The NT’s award-winning programme had a UK audience of 2.5 million, 700,000 of which were NT Live audiences.

The Clore Learning Centre at the NT is committed to providing programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners, including the nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views. In 2015-2016, the NT engaged with over 181,000 participants through the NT Learning events programme. Further, over 2,200 secondary schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand. In Schools since its launch in September 2015.