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Katie Wilson's thoughts on the 'Is that all there is' conference / 15 April 2016

'Is that all there is?' was a two-day conference organised by Open theatre Company designed to encourage fresh thinking about involving young learning-disabled people in the arts. It took place at Birmingham Hippodrome 9-10 March 2016.

Theatre needs to be accessible so learning disabled people don’t need a degree to get involved; show the skills you have, lead by example.

This conference was a way for conceptual and thought-provoking work to be shared by young people and all of us delegates. It was a way of networking and creating a change for the better in theatre and the arts sector.

We were given tools to make a change by talking in groups, taking part in practical workshops and listening to talks by speakers.

The best parts for me were when the groups happened and I could share my ideas freely with everyone and show my skills broadly to people. I have never seen so much creative work going on from such talented performers. They must have taken several weeks to perfect their routines. We all felt a sense of togetherness. People from arts organisations, young people, and teachers all came together in my spiritual habitation that I dearly adore so much.

Accessibility had been thought about so we all felt included, whether they were disabled or not, everyone was catered for!

I thought the things that were talked about were fantastic, everybody’s opinion was valued and shared, listened to and voiced in any way they could. I loved the table cloth idea of putting large sheets of paper to jot down notes, feelings and draw pictures. It inspired me to have a go and time flowed fast with everything going on.

Lunch was a sparse affair though...


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