The initial concept behind String Theatre was to help create a physical image of the space which Performing arts learner Jamie Ayers uses with his fellow learners. Jamie (who has a Visual Impairment) has worked with his LSP to develop a way in which he can access performance space independently with minimal assistance from a sighted guide. Christopher Millington, creator of the initial string concept said:
“As a Learning Support Practitioner I am often thinking about ways in which my learner can access the space around them. Although there is a need for a sighted guide in the majority of instances with Jamie, this concept allows for us to really push the boundaries and tap into another area of promoting independence and mobility skills.
The String Theatre is a concept in which showcases diversity, flexibility and the ability to work in almost any performance space. We will always do a few practice runs before the final performances to ensure the learner is comfortable with the route’’. Chris goes onto say: ‘‘When I was first starting out in the field of VI I had the opportunity to work with Juliet Stone, a European Specialist in Visual Impairment and Mobility Skills for the Blind. Juliet taught me a great deal about compassion and the importance of getting people involved in activities who may often feel left out of them. She also taught me a great deal about mobility skills and how to implement them. This medium seems a rather fitting way to honour her legacy. Juliet passed away around 8 years ago now, but has left a very positive message for me to carry on’’.
Both Glyn Taylor-Marshall (Head of Department) and Anita Lewis (Course Leader of Performing Arts) are working with Chris Millington to take this idea further and to promote the positive messages that inclusion, and accessibility have. The project has not only fired-up the staff, the learners have really got involved by working together in a positive way to make sure no one is left out and that everyone is supporting each other.
Well done to everyone involved!