Creative Connections

Creative Connections is a group of young adults and their friends, families and enablers, who meet to explore their creativity and make theatre together in an inclusive environment. The sessions were set up initially in response to an interest from young adults at In Focus, the visual impairment and complex needs charity, who wanted to socialise and be creative outside of their college setting.

We soon teamed up with The Pelican Project, some of whose members were keen to join the group, and Charlie Robinson, a director and lead facilitator at Pelican, became a wonderfully supportive advocate for the group. We are delighted to have The Pelican Project as partners in the project.

A group photo of the Creative Connections group, featuring members, enablers and parents. Creative Connections member Izzy is displayed on a television screen through a live video feed.
Photo © Ralph Whitehead

We have two of our residents attend the drama group. The interaction they get with all the other people is amazing. They both love acting, and can’t wait for the session: they talk about it often and say to staff who support them “you will like it!” It’s fun!

Enabler

Charlotte, a parent at Creative Connections, waves a wooden stick wrapped with fairy lights over a smiling Ben, who is sat in a wheelchair.
Photo © Ralph Whitehead

Creative Connections is now made up of a regular membership of 12 young adults who have a range of learning and physical needs. They are passionate about making drama themselves and also about making theatre accessible to the neurodiverse and learning disabled communities. What sets the project apart, however, is that we are a true company in the sense that everyone who attends joins in and makes work together.

Lead facilitator Phil Kingslan John of Four of Swords Theatre Company delivers the programme alongside Charlie and Lisa Hudson, the Northcott’s Producer for Children and Young People. Each term the group focuses on a different theme or topic, such as Future Worlds, in which participants speculated what the future might hold in terms of climate and technology.

Meet the group Hear from Charlie, Lisa and Phil

It is good to experience opportunities to act, which is an unusual opportunity to explore. There is a varied profile of the attendees led by people not afraid to challenge and stretch project users.

Parent of participant

We are delighted to announce that in May this year we received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. The kind support of the Community Fund will enable us to grow over the next 12 months, welcome new members, and curate a steering group to decide what happens next.

Kindly supported by

National Lottery Community Fund logo - a hand with crossed fingers. Text reads: 'Community Fund'.

 

To learn more about the group and get involved, email Lisa at l.hudson@exeter.ac.uk

Creative Connections member Zoe smiles at an enabler, who is holding a piece of paper.
Photo © Ralph Whitehead

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