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creating possibilities for disabled children

Bamboozle’s Summer School

The Summer School 2023 group photo.

This July, we hosted our first ever Summer School for practitioners at Curve Theatre in Leicester. We were joined by 12 freelance artists, actors, directors, dancers, theatre makers and facilitators from across the World. This was the most international group we think has ever attended a Bamboozle training week with participants travelling from Australia, the USA, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, South Africa and Newcastle!

Participant Liliana Dalton, whose mum had attended one of our courses in Melbourne, described the experience as “An open, thoughtful, informative and collaborative week. The knowledge shared by Bamboozle was very thorough and generous and it was so wonderful to meet passionate people from around the world.”

During the week, the practitioners were given a whistle stop tour through the fundamental principles of the Bamboozle Approach and how we seek to build connections with young people and enable them to access our work. Led by our Artistic Director Christopher Davies, our Associate Director of Education & Training Nicole Arkless and freelance artist and composer Craig Bryne, the participants were led through the process of creating two shows for two different audiences.

A photo taken during rehearsals as Christopher Davies talks the group through the session.

Nicole Arkless commented: “It was humbling to meet so many people who’d come from all over the world to take part – there were some with a vast amount of experience and some who are starting out on their sensory theatre making journey. The range of experience levels and the variety of different practice disciplines made for a productive working environment where everyone could share ideas and learn from each other. Spending a whole week together allowed us to fully immersive ourselves in the theatre making process as well as explore in depth the necessary considerations of creating an accessible performance that has the audience at its centre.”

The group explored the importance of music and settings and used workshops, ritual and free exploratory play as inspiration for creating these two new theatrical pieces – one for audiences on the autistic spectrum and one for audiences who are sometimes described as having profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) or complex needs. At the end of the week, some of our families were invited to watch these 20 minute sharings and to meet the performers afterwards. The two pieces were full of Bamboozle methodology, brand new songs, puppets and set and costume pieces from both Bamboozle and Curve’s stores.

A group meal out to local favourite Herb on the penultimate night of the week!

Gloria Minnich, from the USA, told us she’d describe her time with us as “an incredible week filled with learning and camaraderie. A safe, welcoming environment where I felt at ease sharing and taking risks. It is an experience I’ll remember for a lifetime and I’m so excited to see where I’m going to take this information and put it into practice.”

We’d like to say a big thank you to all the practitioners who joined us and we can’t wait to hear about what they’re creating in the future. If this Summer School interests you, we’ll be looking to book in dates for 2024 soon! You can also find out more about our training courses currently booking for the rest of 2023 and the start of 2024 here including our Masterclass 2024 which will also be running at Curve Theatre in January.


Unit 10 St Mary's Works | 115 Burnmoor Street | Leicester LE2 7JL | 0116 255 2065
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