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> > > Groundbreaking Performance Making Diploma at Central School of Speech and Drama
photo of an actor with learning difficulties dressed in a suit with a microphone in his hand

Access all Areas actor Dayo Koleosho

In a pioneering move for accredited theatrical training, Access all Areas and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama are launching a new one-year Performance Making Diploma for adults with learning disabilities.

The collaboration will give 15 learning-disabled students per year the opportunity to gain professional and accredited training in physical and devised theatre practices, supported by the Leverhulme Arts Scholarship. 

This partnership between Access All Areas and Central Connects (formerly Central’s School of Professional and Community Development) has seen the development of an innovative teaching practice in performance training for adults with learning disabilities.

Drawing upon contemporary theatre training styles students will learn to create their own devised performances, with practical guidance on authoring their own work through solo performances. In addition, the course will offer guidance and advice for students on gaining professional employment in the Arts Industry, with support after graduation from Access All Areas’ professional acting agency for actors with learning disabilities – Triple A’gency.

Training will be led by some of the industry’s finest teachers and professionals, including Frantic Assembly, casting director Sarah Hughes, and other leading guest tutors. The units taught will include: ‘playing and devising’, ‘physicality’, ‘giving voice’, ‘performance forms’, ‘(Re) Presenting me’, ‘performance making toolbox’, ‘the performing arts industry’ and a final 3 week devising project culminating in a performance in one of Central’s fully equipped studios. 

Through Access all Areas Triple ‘A’gency, the company aims to break down assumptions of what actors with learning disabilities are perceived to be able to do. Notable successes on television include roles in primetime TV dramas such as BBC’s Casualty, Doctors and Holby City. Dayo Koleosho, actor and trustee of Access All Areas, was in addition the only actor with a learning disability in the professional aerial cast of the Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony. 

Other recent work by Access All Areas includes a partnership with Retz, the Barbican and the Sky Arts Ignition Award, to develop Retz’s version of Kafka’s The Trial. The company has also collaborated with Rich Mix Arts Centre on ‘Stories of London: Eye Queue Hear’ – an innovative audio tour performance by performers with learning disabilities through the streets of East London. Both shows enjoyed sold out audiences and the company will continue to tour and develop work through 2014.

Nick Llewellyn, Artistic Director said: “This is a fantastic partnership with such a prestigious drama school. People with learning disabilities have a history of institutionalisation and prejudice of what they can achieve. This new diploma course, with thanks to the Leverhulme Trust, creates a life changing opportunity for 15 people per year to access professional performance training. Not only are we developing access and inclusion for a marginalised group of adults but we are paving a way for public perceptions to be challenged and hopefully eradicated once and for all.”

Dr ML White, Head of Central Connects said: “The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London is one of the nation’s leading higher education specialist drama institutions, with demonstrable success in both teaching and research. At Central Connects we work in collaboration with academic and research staff and in partnership with schools, FE colleges, specialist organisations such as Access all Areas and with those involved in all aspects of theatre training and performance. Central has a long history of raising aspirations and supporting achievement by working with young people, teachers, schools and colleges across London, throughout the South East, and beyond. We are committed to ensuring a widening impact beyond those participating in our academic offerings and are pleased to be developing our relationship with Access all Areas and partners in this innovative course.”

For further details on the Access All Areas Performance Making Diploma please click on this link to DAOs listings

Please click on this link to go to Access All Areas website