Last Word Theatre presents disabled-led new writing event ‘Access Platform’

Five exciting pieces of writing from five talented, emerging disabled artists will be shown at Vault Festival: Brick Hall – The Vaults, Leake Street I 13-14 March, produced by new company Last Word Theatre which supports new writing from disabled artists.

Selected from an open call, Last Word Theatre presents five fresh voices with five fresh new perspectives from emerging disabled artists in Access Platform. Curated by Amy Bethan Evans and directed by Stephen Bailey.

Amy Bethan Evans from Access Platform, said: “Access Platform came from a desire for Stephen and me to use our dramaturgical and producing skills as disabled artists and also to give D/deaf* and disabled artists more opportunities at Fringe level. So many pub theatres are up flights of stairs with no lift which means a lot of writers who need step-free access miss out on this vital stage in their careers.”
The event comes after the recent news that the Grade II listed Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End will create step-free access to the stalls level for the first time in the theatre’s 106-year history.

“Other D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists also miss out on the stage for a variety of reasons as the DIY approach to theatre is not accessible to everyone. There are great programmes from big organisations promoting D/deaf and disabled artists but what we are missing is an in-between stage; a place to send things if you’ve never written before, a chance to face rejection, get feedback, try again and try stuff out that is maybe not yet at professional level, or maybe is at professional level but you’re just not sure what do with it.”

Access Platform will showcase disabled theatre artists on the London theatre scene, new stories, voices and a bold statement of disabled representation in theatre. They are working with a disabled ensemble and aim to maximise accessibility with access workers, relaxed performances, captions and BSL; along with an ongoing dialogue over audience access needs.

She adds: “We deserve the same opportunities as non-disabled artists and I hope that by targeting something at people whose position I’ve been in specifically, we’ve helped a few people overcome those barriers. The quality of the submissions has been excellent and shows how much D/deaf and disabled talent is out there waiting to be included. You can invite us to the party but you need to ask us to dance!”

Selected pieces include:
Padre – Sally Davis
Should Have Gone to Lourdes – Stephen Kennedy
How I Almost Climbed Everest – Clare Knights
Inside – Hannah Torrance
A Four-Letter Word by Jennifer Cerys

vaultfestival.com

*The term D/deaf is used to describe people who are Deaf (sign language users) and deaf (who are hard of hearing but who have English as their first language and may lipread and/or use hearing aids). D/deaf is often used as a short cut to describe both groups who are similar but not exactly the same when it comes to communication.

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