Entertainment & Culture

Reach new heights in Wales with Taking Flight Theatre

If you live in Wales and fancy taking part in theatre workshops and residencies, then Taking Flight Theatre might be just the company for you. Founded in 2008 by theatre practitioners Beth House and Elise Davison, Taking Flight made it their mission to work with groups of people who have traditionally been under-presented in theatre, film and television.

From Shakespeare in the park, to day long residencies confronting Disability Hate Crime, Taking Flight are determined to create accessible for theatre for all. Combining British Sign Language (BSL) with a cast of disabled and non-disabled actors, their performances are aimed at children and adults alike, and often, during the summer months, use stunning Welsh landscapes as their backdrop.

House and Davison first met while they were working together on a youth theatre project in South Wales, and consequently they found themselves working together many times over the following years. After bumping into one another on so many separate projects, their mutual desire to create work that was fully accessible to all, led them to set up Taking Flight in 2008.

The pair decided to set up their new company as a non building-based one, which would give them the opportunity to run workshops and residencies out of a wide range of hired venues, that could meet the accessibility needs of all the groups they worked with. With their office based in Cardiff, House and Davison take their travelling theatre all over Wales, bringing their courses and workshops to as many people as possible. While they often work with diverse groups of people, all of their courses have a number of aims in common, including: increasing confidence, improving movement and wheelchair skills (where appropriate), improving vocal technique including projection, diction and tone, assisting participants with spatial awareness, helping to create group identities and enhancing team work skills.

Most of their courses also feature a performance element, and they believe that when it comes to theatre, the process is just as important as the end production. To that end, they teamed up with the independent not-for-profit organisation Disability Wales, to create the project Real Human Being. A full day residency program, it aims to teach young people about the very real consequences that Disability Hate Crime can have on the lives of disabled people. They’ve also worked regularly with the Back-Up Trust, a charity for those who have been affected by spinal cord injury.

So if you’re lucky enough to live in Wales, why not check out the company’s blog so you can catch one of their shows next time they are on tour, or see if they are running a workshop near you.

By Nichola Daunton

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