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Breaking down barriers at Half Moon

In our Community View column in the Docklands and East London Advertiser, Head of Creative Learning Beccy explains what being an inclusive theatre really means to Half Moon for audiences, members and participants.
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition

Breaking down barriers at Half Moon

Half Moon is an inclusive theatre. That means that we make it our mission to break down the barriers that might exist for anyone to be an audience member or participant. Those might be physical barriers, financial barriers or social barriers.

For example, you may have noticed when you have been to Half Moon that there are different lifts, that there is an accessible toilet on both floors and adult and baby changing facilities.

We also aim to make our space as welcoming and child-friendly as possible so that families and young people coming to us for the first time feel that it is a space that belongs to them. You may also know that we keep our ticket prices low, close to the cost of going to the cinema, so it is hopefully something people can afford more regularly than a treat once a year.

Part of this inclusive practice means that all our groups are open to young disabled people, who can have a one-to-one access worker to support their involvement.

When our young disabled participants are in their teens, they can choose to be part of a specialist group just for disabled teenagers and young adults. This Youth Theatre is called Solar and it is a theatre company who work together with a group of experienced specialist artists to create powerful pieces of theatre to share with family and friends, and have fun on a weekly basis.

Members can remain in the group until they are 25 and we support families to find alternative provision for their young person as they approach that age.

Over the summer holidays, as long as we have secured the appropriate funding, we offer a week-long summer school for this group and additional members of the community to make a play in a week. This is taking place next week, thanks to funding from the Merchant Taylors’ Charity.

The group will be working with a theatre director and a puppeteer as well as access workers who act as ‘creative enablers’ and youth volunteers to create a performance in just five days. The young people will devise the story, make their own puppets and learn how to bring them to life on the stage.

We can’t wait to see what they produce!

Beccy Allen is the Head of Creative Learning at Half Moon.

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