I gained my BA in Humanities with Philosophy and Creative Writing at the Open University, and my MA in Theatre Practice at the University of Exeter. My MA dissertation focussed on how theatre produced with and by learning disabled artists can both reproduce and challenge stereotypical views on people living with learning disabilities. The interest in this subject arose from my work with ROC Creative Torbay, an arts project working with people with learning disabilities.
I joined the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health in September 2019 as a PhD candidate.
Shaped by ableist histories and practices, theatre produced with and by learning disabled artists occupies an interesting cultural position. Due to various cultural and political factors, such theatre is habitually labelled as ‘amateur’ and ‘curative’, effectively positioning it as lesser than professional, ‘proper’ theatre. Such judgements not only belie the artistic value and rigour much learning disabled theatre demonstrates, but also perpetuate stereotypical views on people living with learning disabilities.
For my current research project I will collaborate with a company of ‘mixed ability’ theatre makers, investigating how practices can be changed in order to challenge and disrupt the assumptions and unhelpful binaries affecting their work.