Flute Theatre to present Shakespeare Festival for autistic individuals and their families


Flute Theatre, who since March 2020 and the onset of the pandemic have made over 700 online performances for autistic individuals and their families, will present three productions from Monday 7th June for 6 weeks.

They will present their two previous adapted productions of Shakespeare’s Pericles and A Midsummer Night’s Dream alongside their newly commissioned production, created in association with Teatro La Plaza in Lima Peru, of The Tempest presented in both English and Spanish. Flute Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival has been created and developed with international partners in order including Teatro La Plaza, Lima Peru, Escuela Monserrat Montera, Granollers Spain and Samatha Learning Centre, Bangalore India.

To book for Flute Theatre’s Online Shakespeare Festival visit https://flutetheatre.co.uk/5247-2/

Through specially adapted Shakespeare productions and their use of the Hunter Heartbeat Method – productions are delivered in a one to one environment on Zoom. During the past year Flute Theatre has worked extensively in the UK and countries around the world including India, the USA, Spain and Peru to create and adapt Shakespeare for autistic individuals and their families. These performances have been created in response to Covid-19, alleviating anxieties and offering unique opportunities for artistic participation during the increased loneliness caused by the pandemic.

Performances are experienced through sensory games that are musical, funny, and physical; each game is tailored to the specific needs of the individual, creating a unique experience shared between actors and autistic participants. As a result of these one to one performances some autistic individuals have started to speak for the very first time and shown increased concentration levels.

Kelly Hunter MBE, Artistic Director of Flute Theatre said:

This festival is the culmination of our creative response to the pandemic. Since March 2020 we have adapted our unique sensory and communicative productions to be available online for the autistic community and those with special needs across the world. Although theatres have been closed, our creativity, hearts and minds have remained open – we’ve formed bonds and partnerships with families and artists across the world from Blackpool to Lima, from India to Spain. Whilst the pandemic continues to wreck peoples lives in the global south, we are working with those most in need, continuing to use theatre to combat exclusion and allow people who are completely isolated to share how it feels to be alive”

To book visit https://flutetheatre.co.uk/latest-news/

During April 2021 actors and directors of Flute and La Plaza worked together in a 4-week digital theatre laboratory to create Flute Theatre’s new production of The Tempest. Researchers from Peoples Palace Project, Queen Mary University of London in the UK and Cronícos in Peru are using the project to interrogate how innovative, theatre-based methodologies can be adapted to enable resilience and inclusive recovery from Covid-19 by autistic individuals.

The full project is a six-month case-study research run by People’s Palace Project to describe and analyse the transfer of knowledge and skills from actors and directors of Flute Theatre to Peruvian actors and directors at Teatro La Plaza, as well as the sharing of this experience with other arts organizations in Peru and Latin America.

The project known as Heartbeat, Creating Recovery is one of seven projects in the UK to receive Urgency funding from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) as an Urgent Grants on the International Impact on COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities. This is the only Arts based grant. The other six are as follows:

The impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities in Ukraine (with a particular focus on internally displaced Persons with Disabilities) – PI Kiril Sharapov, Edinburgh Napier University

Implementing participatory-action research to explore the impact of COVID on war-affected disabled populations, including ex-child soldiers, in Uganda – PI Rachel Murray, University of Bristol

Building back better: Disability-inclusive health as a legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe – PI Hannah Kuper, LSHTM

Participatory Action Research with Disabled Adolescents in Nepal (PARDAN) to develop methods and materials to understand their experience of COVID-19 – PI Joanna Morrison, UCL

The impact of COVID-19 on people living with psychosocial disabilities in Ghana and Indonesia and priorities for inclusive recovery – PI Ursula Read, King’s College London

Comparative Case Study on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine – PI Dina Kiwan, University of Birmingham

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