This is the third consecutive year that we’re asking you to take part in our annual reader survey. It is absolutely crucial to our role in the arts to remain vibrant and interesting: This is your chance to tell us what you like about Dao and how you would change or improve on our website, social media interaction and our activities out in the ‘real world’. By giving us this valuable feedback we can make changes so that everyone gets a better service.
Last year lots of people suggested we should deliver more video content and we started to do that with our Diverse Perspectives project. This year we are planning a whole new section of the website for audio/visual content from individual artists and organisations. We’ve added a question specifically about this so that we can build your feedback into the project and importantly use those comments for funding applications. If you’d like to take a more detailed role in the planning of this project then do contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
We had some really great feedback last year, which helped us secure three year core funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. This covers a proportion of the running costs of the organisation so that we can continue to bring you up-to-date news, listings and insights into the arts from a disability perspective. We still need to raise funds to cover the rest of the running costs as well as projects including commissions for disabled artists.
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Vital Xposure produce one of their best productions yet with 'Let Me Stay', which has just received Unlimited funding
I am delighted that Julie McNamara and her company Vital Xposure have received an Unlimited award for Let Me Stay. I’ve known Julie a long time now – through thick and thin you might say. And I know her well enough to say that she puts everything into whatever she turns her attention to.
Let Me Stay is a treat. I saw Julie perform Let Me Stay in a makeshift theatre space – the sort of space that proves that you can make theatre anywhere, if you are good enough and committed enough to what you’re doing.
Okay, so it probably helped that Julie had loads of mates in the audience; so that when the stage lights stopped suddenly, she was able to improvise, calling out “somebody lend them 50p for the ‘leccy”, slipping into her mums character like a well-worn and much loved frock… or shoe, possibly. Let Me Stay involves lots of shoes.
Julie moves effortlessly between herself, her mum, and a massive cast of do-gooders, ne ‘er do wells and various motley bods.
The tempo is loud, brash and full of warmth and heart as Julie takes us into her mother Shirley’s world, before and after the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Let Me Stay lifts the lid off the taboo of Alzheimer’s and gently, good spiritedly confronts the audience with their fears to lead us into a humane space, undressing the nuts and bolts of being human and finding that when the mind unravels, yes there is darkness and despair, but there is poetry too.
If there was a weakness to the last round of Unlimited it was perhaps that much of the work was too ambitious and therefore too expensive for any but larger venues, like the Southbank Centre. This round will show a larger variety of performance for big and small venues.
Vital Xposure’s Let Me Stay engages with issues that affect people from all walks of life. It's great that the Southbank Centre is taking it, and the kind of family orientated audience you can expect there, will see it, but it has the potential to fit a range of types of theatre space and therefore to be seen by a host of different types of audience.
If you can get to see it, I'd thoroughly recommend it.