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Staging Transitions

What are the challenges faced by young people with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) when they leave school? What are the hopes and fears associated with their transition into adulthood? Can inclusive theatre help them make sense of this crucial phase of their lives? 

Building upon previous research on the use of theatre to improve democratic participation of LDD people in society, this project – ran by Face Front Inclusive Theatre – responded to the timely concerns in education and adult services around transition planning and implementation.

With the constant involvement of young LDD people and their parents/carers, a new multi-accessible play was devised, based on both academic literature and interviews with parents, guardians, carers, teachers, and young LDD people themselves about their hopes and fears or experiences of transition into the adult world.

Plays and events

The play, ‘It’s My Move!’ was developed in 2014 following a series of workshops, interviews and performances at schools, FE colleges, theatres and community centres across London.

A Critical Voices conference took place in Tunbridge Wells in June 2015, featuring a performance presentation on the workshops and their outcomes.

From July until November 2015 performance workshops about transition took place at eight special and mainstream schools and youth clubs in Enfield. 

On 26 November 2015 another performance, called 'It's My Life!', took place at King's College London, accompanied by a training session covering practical person-centred approaches for involving young people in decision making.

Reports and findings

Click here to download the 'Staging Transitions: 2014' report, written by Annie Smol and Dr Maria Vaccarella. 

Click here to read more information about 'It's My Move!', by Julie McNamara and Face Front Inclusive Theatre. 

A video of the project is available below:

Film credits

Cast: Peter Faventi, Ellen Goodey, Delson Weekes, Katherine Gill, Frances Majekodunmi, Darren Carr
Directors: Annie Smol, Ellen Goodey
Script: Julie McNamara
Designers: Declan Leslie, supported by Shelly Davies
Musical Director/Composers: Aldean Blair, supported by Ned Smith
In collaboration with: Blink Dance Theatre, Action Space, Heart n Soul, Vital Xposure 

Project Team

Dr Maria Vaccarella joined the Department of English at the University of Bristol in September 2015 after conducting postdoctoral research at the Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London. Her research interests include cultural representations of chronic illnesses (especially, epilepsy), critical disability studies, and inclusive education. She is currently working on the project “Investigating Public Trust in Expert Knowledge: Ethics, Narrative and Engagement” (funded by Monash University), which looks at the role of narrative in the construction of trust within biopolitical matters.

Face Front is an exciting theatre company of disabled and non-disabled performers. We produce professional entertaining and challenging multi-layered theatre with participatory ‘inclusive’ arts workshops which are accessible to people with physical, sensory and learning impairments, to the least and most able of audiences. We create original, ground-breaking theatre that is both relevant and stimulating to those who have little experience of the arts, producing challenging, innovative and accessible performance.

For this project with King’s College London, Face Front are working in collaboration with other disability focused organisations Heart n Soul (music), Blink Dance Theatre (dance), Action Space (visual art) and Vital Xposure (writing). 

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