We’re heading to Arlington Arts Centre on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th October. It’s another venue that we’ve toured to before. We received lovely feedback last time we were in Newbury (so great in fact that it’s a quote we include on our website).
“For my pupils with profound and multiple complex needs it was a delight to be able to offer them the opportunity of a trip to the theatre. They were able to experience and participate in a piece of tailor-made, accessible, appropriate high quality theatre. This was a marvellous educational and extremely enjoyable event, not least because we were able to access it within a purpose built theatre providing that extra little bit of magic!” Teacher- Castle School, Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
Getting feedback like this is invaluable to us. Firstly it’s amazing for us to hear that we’re reaching our aim of creating high quality theatre in theatre venues, and it’s also great to give feedback like this to venues and funders to ensure the sustainability of our work.
Interesting fact about Newbury
There were famous protests over the building of the Newbury bypass in the 90’s. Protesters lived up trees and dug a network of tunnels under the roadwork to try and halt the construction of the road. The famous eco-warrior Swampy is from Newbury.
Closest Changing Places
Northcroft Leisure Centre
Northcroft Lane Newbury, RG14 1RS
Tel: 01635 31199
Kennet Shopping Centre
Market Street Newbury, RG14 5EN
Tel: 01635 40748
See you on tour!
Amber Onat Gregory
Our sixth venue on tour is The Seagull. The Seagull are truly embedded in their local community and have been very proactive with getting an audience for the show. I think The Forest has been sold out since before tickets even went on sale!
The Seagull is probably the smallest venue of tour and squeezing The Forest into the space is going to be interesting, but we will make it work! We really wanted to take Tunnels to The Seagull but couldn’t make it fit into their space. That’s why when we worked with our designer Stephanie Williams, we specified that she had to make a set that was versatile and could be changed to fit into different sized venues.
The Seagull is a small theatre with big ambitions. The staff is almost entirely made up of volunteers but they are a dedicated bunch and we’re looking forward to performing there for the very first time!
Interesting fact about Lowestoft – Lowestoft is the most Easterly point of the United Kingdom, as a company based in the East that’s pretty exciting!
Closest Changing Places Toilet –
Marina Leisure and Fitness Centre
See you on tour!
On the weekend of 26th and 27th September we’ll be returning to Bedford to perform at The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s (previously known as Bedford Theatre) where we took Tunnels in 2014. The Saturday family show there was one of the highlights from our Tunnels tour thanks to Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society (BDCPS).
BDCPS brought a group of young adults to see Tunnels along with their parents, siblings and grandparents which resulted in the biggest audiences we’d ever had (a total of 24). Due to the success of this we’re doing more family shows this year at other venues and we’re working really hard to increase the number of weekend shows that we do in the future to reach our aim of creating theatre that audiences with PMLD can access with their friends and family. Weekend shows can be a real challenge to sell out as it’s so hard to get the word out about our work to people with PMLD and their carers, as people with PMLD are some of the most marginalised in our society. Thanks to groups like BDCPS who provide specialist support for those living with cerebral palsy and their families, theatre venues are able to work with charities to sell out the weekend shows.
We’re also pretty excited about performing at the newly named The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s- check out the pics of the swanky new venue below: Interesting fact about the theatre- there’s an old organ hidden behind the stage as the venue used to be an old church!
Nearest Changing Places
River Street Multi-Storey Car Park
River Street, Bedford,
Tel: 01234 267422
See you on tour!
Amber Onat Gregory
Our fourth venue of the tour is Colchester Arts Centre. We toured Tunnels to Colchester Arts Centre in 2014 and had a brilliant time with some great interactive audiences. We are really happy to be working with Colchester Arts Centre as they have such a commitment to access and a dedication to supporting disability arts.
Colchester Arts Centre is a really interesting venue as they have a really eclectic programme with everything from farmers markets, to heavy metal gigs, to early year’s theatre. We are really excited to be visiting again and hope to see some of the same audiences we met when we visited with Tunnels.
The venue is an old church and the atmosphere of the building added a beautiful quality to Tunnels. We hope it works its magic on The Forest as well.
Interesting fact about Colchester – Both Amber and Lucy are vegans and Colchester has an amazing new vegan café called The Den at Twenty Three. You will find us there between shows quickly snacking on vegan burgers and cupcakes. One of the staff members at Colchester Arts Centre was coincidently the café’s first customer and also the 1000th- spooky!
Closest Changing Places Toilet:
Leisure World Colchester
Tel: 01206 282000
See you on tour!
Our third venue of The Forest tour is The Garage in Norwich. Norwich is the hometown of Frozen Light with three out of four of The Forest touring party living here. We love Norwich and we hope that Norwich loves The Forest.
We are so excited about The Forest coming to our home town as we are passionate about reaching and engaging with our local community. We have a really supportive audience base in Norwich, so much so that we have added an extra date for school groups on September 30th. The Garage was also the first theatre venue that Frozen Light ever performed at, we consider our premiere there (11th February 2013) as our birthday, check out a photo from that show- Tunnels.
In Norwich we are working with a small panel of people with PMLD and their families to advise our practice and ensure that the work we are creating is truly accessible and enjoyable for people with PMLD. Members of our panel will be coming to the Norwich show and we are so excited for them to help us ensure our work is of the highest quality. We will blog more about our panel in the future.
Interesting fact about Norwich – Norwich is a UNESCO city of Literature and a City of Refuge for persecuted writers from around the world.
Nearest Changing Places
Vauxhall Community Hub
Tel: 01603 626014
See you on tour!
After a short pause our second date of tour is Key Theatre in Peterborough on September 21st. We are really looking forward to finally visiting Peterborough.
We have a great group of supporters based in Peterborough from the Phoenix School. This group, lead by their deputy head, have previously travelled for two hours to come and see a Frozen Light show (to both Norwich and Cambridge)- so we thought it was about time we came to them! Whenever the Phoenix School are in the audience we know it will be a great show and we are so pleased that we can finally bring our work to their home town.
I’ve also performed with Hocus Pocus Theatre as “The bearded lady” at the opening week of The Key Theatre. It will be nice to visit the theatre again but this time with a less hairy creation.
Interesting fact about Peterborough – Peterborough is the largest town/city in the UK without it’s own local radio. I think it’s time someone started one!
See you on tour!
Tour begins two weeks today!! We are very excited that our first date will be at bOing International Family Festival at The Gulbenkian, Canterbury.
We are excited for a number of reasons….
Firstly the festival looks amazing! We feel honoured to be performing alongside some amazing companies from across the globe. We are particularly looking forward to Dybwikdans – Toddlernes Rom (Norway). As many of you know, as a company we tour with three children under 3 so are excited to take them to explore this sensory wonderland. The Frozen Light grandparents coming on tour can’t wait too!
Secondly, The Gulbenkian is on the University of Kent campus. This is the university that myself and Amber attended way back in 2003-2007 to study Drama and Theatre Studies. This is the place where we both found our passion for multi-sensory theatre and made our first multi-sensory production, Aladdin, for a group of teenagers with PMLD from St Nicholas School in Canterbury.
Interesting fact about Canterbury – Westgate (the only surviving gate from the walled city) was nearly demolished in the 1800’s to allow a travelling circus to march a parade of elephants through the city! Luckily the mayor at the time held the casting vote and saved the gate from destruction. I used to live on the same road as Westgate when I lived in Canterbury. We’re looking forward to learning interesting facts about all the different places we’re taking The Forest.
So, if you’d like to come and see us re-visit our roots back on campus, this time performing The Forest, please come along! We’re there Saturday 29th August 10.45am &2.45pm. Tickets can be booked by calling The Gulbenkian box office on 01227 769075.
See you on tour!
Thrilled to see our piece on creating multi-sensory theatre for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities to be featured on the Guardian Culture Professionals Network: Check it out here:
The first question is- why do we want the press writing about us?
In order to develop our audiences it’s really important that people know about our work in the first place. As most theatre productions aren’t accessible for people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) it is rare for our audiences to find out about our shows in theatre brochures.
People become more aware of our work when we are written about in the press. Word of mouth about our productions increases, which means that our audience starts looking out for accessible shows. This not only benefits us, it also benefits the venue as more people become aware of their commitment to accessible programming. By talking about our work and our audience we are also meeting one of the aims of our company which is to make people with PMLD more visible in our society.
As a theatre company wanting to create work of the highest artistic quality it’s also important for our productions to be talked about and reviewed like any other theatre production.
The challenge is that we are theatre makers and not marketing and PR experts. When you run a small theatre company you soon realise that you need to wear many different hats- from producing, to budgets and PR, you find yourself juggling a lot of different roles.
For this reason we find working in collaboration with other organisations is crucial to our work. With a shared vision we’re able to have a much wider reach, which is why working with organisations such as the New Wolsey Theatre and PMLD Link have meant so much to us.
In the lead up to The Forest premiere at The New Wolsey we worked alongside Jeni Raw, their Press and Marketing Officer, to develop relationships with local press. We found that working with a venue is essential in developing our press as they have both the local knowledge and the PR expertise that we don’t. What we have to offer is an insight to our production and our audience. By working together we were able to receive more local publicity than we could have hoped for. Press was an area we really struggled with on our Tunnels tour as we saw it as a task that we had to undertake alone or leave for venues to organise themselves. What we learnt from The Forest premiere was that by working together and sharing knowledge we were able to increase our reach and we can already see the impact that press has had in developing our audiences through enquiries about our work.
We look forward to working to create press relations with venues in the upcoming tour of The Forest so that our work reaches more and more people with PMLD across the country.
The Forest premiered at The New Wolsey, Ipswich on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd May 2015.
It had been a busy three week run up to the premiere making sure everything was up to scratch for our audiences. After a dress rehearsal on Thursday 21st to our families, we were very nervous but ready to go. Down to nerves (and two hungry 5 month olds) not much sleep was had on the Thursday night but we got to the theatre on Friday ready and excited.
We did two shows on each day to sold out audiences. Both our Friday shows were booked by Shorefields School in Clacton. They all travelled together and half of the group went to the New Wolsey café to have their lunch whilst the other group watched the show and then they switched. We love it when people come to see the show and make a real day out of their trip. Dinner and a show, isn’t that what it’s all about?! We were so pleased with how the production went and afterwards there was a lot of enthusiasm with the audience saying “this is magical”.
On Saturday we did two general public shows. We find there is something really wonderful about our general public shows as it is for our audiences with PMLD attending with their friends and families. This adds a real sense of togetherness and we always find, as performers, we enjoy these shows immensely. Again we had some really lovely feedback from family members and are excited to build on these relationships.
During the premiere dates we had several reviewers come and see the show (you can read the reviews here). With the amazing reviews and the positive response from our audience we couldn’t have been happier with the way the shows went.
We now have a week of rehearsals in August before The Forest goes out on its mammoth 26 venue tour across the UK. We are so excited to get back to the show and can’t wait to meet all our audiences on the road. See you on tour!!!!