Once Seen: How We Came To Be

7th July 2018

The Future of Adults with Learning Disabilities Demands Us to Look at the Past in Once Seen’s New Play.

With every funding cut, every change in political party, every re-write of strategy, the lives of adults with learning disabilities are being shaped, but where are their voices within all of this?

Once Seen Theatre Company have been producing biannual productions since 2007, receiving much praise and acclaim for their interpretations of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Sophocles in recent years, but now the company have decided to create an original play that incorporates the stories from the members of the cast. Interwoven with unforgettable atrocities from the past, How We Came to Be explores the current experience of adults with learning difficulties; from education to employment, friendships to parenting, terminology to care, this is a play set in the not-so-distant future, in an attempt to never forget the past.

‘I’ve been lucky enough to work with Once Seen for 5 years’ says one of the company’s Artistic Directors Matt Harper-Hardcastle, ‘and as a company who encourage everyone to bring their full selves into rehearsals, myself and my colleague El Stannage, have been given a privileged and enlightened position to really understand the trials, tribulations, achievements and aspirations of the actors. And we think others should hear them too!’

In the shadows of asylums and the recent shortfalls of Valuing People, How We Came To Be, invites audiences to sit on the board of a futuristic strategy meeting which aims to settle on the treatment of adults with learning disabilities once and for all. Sandra Gilpin who was one of the company’s founders said ‘Drama is another form of self-advocacy; it’s another way we can speak up and say who we are’ and this production says what needs to be said and asks all audience members to play their part on leaving the theatre.

How We Came To Be will be performed at the John Cooper Studio, 41 Monkgate and will be accompanied by a small installation which covers the history of disability and an accessible pictorial telling of the play.

Performances are 7.30pm 20th and 21st July 2018. Tickets are £10 and £7, available through York Theatre Royal Box Office - and 01904 623568

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