Birds of Paradise mark 30th anniversary year with launch of accessible digital theatre project Locked World

Scotland’s preeminent disability-led theatre company Birds of Paradise will launch Locked World, a digital arts space designed for – and by – disabled people.

Conceived during the Covid-19 pandemic by BOP Young Artists, members of the company’s artist development initiative, Locked World hosts a collection of digital art, from video to illustration to writing, that honours and amplifies disabled voices as a central tenet, rather than treating accessibility as an afterthought. The creative platform will open with an event on Zoom, inviting visitors to interact with Birds of Paradise and Locked World’s contributing artists.

Creative Scotland’s Digital Pivot Report quotes, There are three things that stand out about BOP: their uncompromising approach to access and inclusion, their rigorous attention to target audience needs and wants, and their desire to learn. These attributes combine to mean that the company has embraced digital technology with determination that they will find ways to apply their unique perspective and drive to new environments.

World renowned for championing the process of Creatively Embedded Access (CEA) across projects, BOP interweave accessibility throughout the creative process rather than treating it as an afterthought. With theatre embracing digital forms, Locked World seeks to demonstrate ways of rectifying the accessibility issues posed by digital theatre – such as a lack of captioning or flashing imagery – and create an artistic space where equity, openness, respect, and empathy are honoured. Birds of Paradise are thrilled to be collaborating with Fine Day Studio on this project.

The initial launch of the site will feature artworks by three fantastic artists. Sandra Alland experiments with form and integrated access in writing, film, and interdisciplinary art. Their most recent publication is the multimedia zine Sore Loser, a chronic pain and illness zine on queer disabled grief. Glasgow based artist Georgia Holman uses poetry as a medium to project the imagining and making of an inverted world. Her work questions how we can build empathic structures as a resistance to the neoliberal pervasion of individualism, informed through her own neurodivergence and queerness as well as theories of justice and anti-capitalist

teachings. Rylan Gleave is a composer and vocalist based in Leith; his musical practise involves a variety of neuro-and gender-queering of the classical, centring his late-breaking trans masc voice.

These artists mark the first cohort of commissioned creatives for Locked World – the project will run for nine months, with different artworks and events added every three months. Locked World also invites audiences to interact with the work through ‘creative contributions,’ where they will be presented with a question or an invitation to respond to the artworks in a creative way – from video or movement piece to an audio recording. You do not need to be an ‘artist’ to submit these, and Birds of Paradise invite everyone to engage with these works.

Birds of Paradise Theatre Company is Scotland’s leading touring theatre company employing disabled and non-disabled actors. Established in 1993, BOP became disability led in 2012 and now focuses on delivering work across BOP Theatre, BOP Development and BOP Strategy stands to have the widest impact locally and internationally. As BOP enters its 30th anniversary year, the company’s work continues to impact on the diversity of the wider cultural landscape, remaining world-renowned for integrating access into all its productions, and in developing work that addresses disability with honestly, integrity, and humour.

Locked World was designed in collaboration with award-winning Aberdeen based organisation Fine Day Studio. Fine Day have explored the vast realm of digital accessibility with us, and built Locked World with skill, curiosity, playfulness and passion.

Locked World was made possible with funding from Creative Scotland, The Recovery Fund and Fine Day Studio.

There will never be a performance that is totally accessible to everyone, but Don’t. Make. Tea.

gets pretty damn close – Disability Arts Online on Don’t. Make. Tea.

Theater Martin Cid Magazine
Theater Martin Cid Magazine
News about theater, plays and actors. A vision of the theater scene around the world.
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