Dearest Bazuli! (that’s was a weird one but we’ll let it stand) how are you all? We do hope your 2019 is off to a stellar start, full of fresh starts, new opportunities and most importantly, health! We also hope you’re not too full after the info we dropped from our excellent sit down interview with AD Sarah Bedi and Dramatherapist Annemarie Gaillard - if not, acquaint yourself with the blog above and thank us later - we do have more fab interviews in the pipeline for our ‘Wellbeing’ series, so look out for that. But for now though - we here at Baz make it a priority, in every stage of the production process to be fully up to date with the best methods, materials and language so that our work stays truly inclusive and informed.
As in the previous blog post we have made significant changes to how our rehearsal room works: our AD Sarah likes to lead with discussion, as well as an accent on mindfulness - meditation, exercise and games to help make making theatre no longer a stressful, purely achievement > goal experience. With the addition of dramatherapy to her rehearsal rooms,the results have been wholesome, upbeat and generally easier for all involved. We also understand that the language, and form and variables of life and what it has to offer shifts constantly, and we are always glad to see new communities creating either more visibility or opportunity for themselves. We’ve seen it done, or in the process of doing good work in raising this awareness with such communities as, the LGBTQ Community, the D/deaf and disabled community and the BAME community too. We’ve been so proud and glad to see their talents and much needed voices come shining through and fully represent the beauty and level of talent we all share equally.
One community that we may not have heard of until fairly recently is the Neurodivergent community. It’s useful to point out that we came across it as one of our own - our resident blogger, would see herself as part of this community and felt very pleased to see its emergence into the public lexicon. Our Co-Ad Catherine, was introduced to the term as part of the cast for The Globe’s Relaxed performance for last year’s Othello as part of their performance schedule and mission statement for accessible theatre, something that in recent years has been more of a familiar sight in theatre. For those who don’t know, the neurodivergent community is merely the name of the group, not of the malady. It stems from the term ‘Neurodiversity’ coined back in 1998 by an autistic Australian sociologist Judy Singer when the active push the for Autistic Rights Movement really gained traction. To break the term down, it really means that much like human diversity, there can be diversity of the brain too, and that the differences some experience make them no less ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’. In the case of the arts, the term covers a wide range of neurodivergent differences from dyslexia, OCD, bipolar disorder, those who identify as being on the autistic spectrum - any mental difference that stems from a neurological standpoint. As we’ve said on this blog very often, mental health still has a stigma attached to it - though it truly affects us all - could this be the last taboo of the arts? With the Baz team we see many an arts job application, and whilst we’ve seen impressive and important changes such as a call out or special emphasis for BAME, LGBTQ applicants: a fantastic moment of leeway in out much-needed push for diversity and acceptance, and even questions on class status, we’ve yet to see in-depth questions on mental health or Neurodiversity.
It’s worth pointing out that we discovered this term from a call-out for a neurodivergent director to direct a cast of actors who may be autistic or identify with any other neurodiverse condition for a cast and creative team that would literally be on the same page. It made us so happy to see this kind of project advertised on an arts jobs website and got us searching for the meaning and the basis of the movement. The testimonies and stories of those who are now relieved to identify with a group that share the same difficulties that the ‘neuronormatives’ do not face within any industry, let alone the arts, shows that like previous years, 2019 is not slowing down the quest to be truly all inclusive, accepting and aware. We’ve still a long way to go though from one job advert on an arts jobs website - is it the next flag to be raised in this quest to make the arts truly representative of all people and all differences, be they physical or mental? We surely hope so - and we are always willing to support and always, as ever, to learn.
With much love Bazzers, take care of yourselves