Chickenshed Theatre

 

Chickenshed-Theatre Changing Lives.

So what is Chickenshed?

Chickenshed Theatre is an amazing inclusive theatre company and charity, based in North London. I’m not just saying it’s amazing because I spent around 4 years acting in various roles there, have been in it’s Young Creators scheme and had made so many friends there. I mean it. It’s amazing. Here’s why.

Started around 40 years ago in a real chicken shed, the theatre company quickly grew and expanded into what it is today – a theatre with over 800 performers, where everyone is included and their ability is encouraged. 40 years ago, many people didn’t understand people with disabilities, and many even went undiagnosed, such as people with autism, or learning difficulties, or dyslexia. However both then and today, Chickenshed not only involves everyone in its performances, it empowers people to achieve in theatre to the best of their abilities.

Making its performances inclusive for both the performers and the audience, Chickenshed integrates sign language into its performances, and all performances have some days where they are audio-described, to help blind and visually impaired viewers (like me) follow the story and learn what’s going on even if we can’t see it on stage.

For example, Chickenshed audio-described its latest Christmas show, Rapunzel. For a short sample, watch this video here!

Christmas show ‘Rapunzel’ at Chickenshed promises to be a fun new take on the classic fairytale, showing what happens when Rapunzel leaves her tower and strives for independence in the world outside.

References:

[1] – A video of just one of Chickenshed’s many performers, Saida, who has become a successful actor and teacher of children. As a proud Chickenshed Ambassador, Saida says about Chickenshed: ‘It gives people an insight as to how to work with people with different abilities.’

[2]- Chickenshed often explores hard-hitting topics through theatre, sometimes taking pre-written scripts and making them their own, for example in thier 2016 summer show Kindertransport. Read a review of it here
[3] – Chickenshed performed a play based on Benjamin Zephaniah’s book ‘Refugee Boy’ in 2016. Zephaniah and the main actor Lehm Sissay were invited to an onstage conversation about the creation of the play at Chickenshed.
4.In Autumn 2017 Chickenshed brought together older people and younger people to bridge the gap between the generations. Listen to both them talking about their experiences here
5. Chickenshed has even performed in the Royal Albert Hall, for example its performance of ‘Dreams Of Freedom’, a collaboration with Amnesty International which I reviewed at Exposure here.
6 – One of Chickenshed’s most celebrated songwriters and actors, Paula Rees, has cerebral palsy and uses a spelling board to communicate. The biography of her life, Paula’s Story, has been shown twice at Chickenshed, in 1993 and again in 2014. I intend to include a page on Paula… However for now you can read an interview with Paula herself here and watch the Chickenshed trailer here!

6- Chickenshed’s audio description booth in their latest Christmas show, Rapunzel!

Rapunzel is on until 6th January 2018. Find out more at Chickenshed’s website event page for Rapunzel.

 Chcikenshed’s Children’s Theatre gained the permission of Yoko Ono, the late John Lennon’s wife, to perform Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in the British TV show ‘Good Morning Britain’. You can see and hear some of Chickenshed’s talented children here!

Watch this video to find out more about the history and philosophy of Chickenshed.


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