Our work with d/Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent young people
At the National Youth Theatre we want to create a culture that is inclusive, creative and collaborative. We celebrate all the ways we are different and aim to create an environment where everyone can thrive and do their best work.
Inclusive Practice is essential to the work that we do, and we want to make sure that NYT is always a welcoming and accessible place for disabled and neurodivergent young people. As part of this commitment we:
- run a programme of targeted work which has recently included successful partnerships with London SEND schools Highshore, Samuel Rhodes and Richard Cloudesley School.
- have begun working with two further schools, Woodfield and Village School in Brent during Autumn 2022.
- are a Cultural Inclusion Manifesto supporter,
- deliver inclusion training for NYT staff, freelance artists and external organisations.
- train NYT members to be inclusion ambassadors to support our non-mainstream school delivery and deliver inclusive practice within our Creative Leadership work for NYT members,
- are introducing relaxed performances and auditions across the organisation
- have commissions foregrounding disabled stories and successful creative collaborations with sector leaders Diverse City, Extraordinary Bodies and Touretteshero.
Here's a little more about the work we do...
Opportunities for and with D/deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse Young People
Already a NYT Member?
Through our unique Creative Leadership programme, we offer opportunities for young people to get training in Inclusive Facilitation Practice, and gain bursary-supported or paid roles facilitating our targeted programmes for disabled and neuro diverse young people .
Inclusion Ambassador training, course assisting and emerging associates
Made by Members – Access Acquired - a youth-led collective of D/deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse NYT members creating and performing original work - watch now
Want to become a NYT Member?
Accessible auditions, access needs – In addition to hosting relaxed audition processes within non-mainstream schools, During our audition/interview process, we invite applicants to disclose any access requirements for their audition/interviews. If applicants are successful, we will then offer a preliminary meeting with the team prior to the course commencing to discuss any additional support we can put in place.
Sign up to the NYT Hub to access workshops, resources, and auditions to join NYT as a Member. If you have any access requirements, or need any support to take part in our activity please get in touch on email@example.com
Work with partners
We’re grateful to have worked with some incredible partners who have supported us in developing our own inclusive practice.
In recent years this has included our Associate Company Blink Dance, Touretteshero, Diverse City and Frozen Light.
Diverse City & Extraordinary Bodies
In 2018, we partnered with Diverse City to deliver Inclusion Training to a pool of freelance staff. Diverse City were a key part of our early work at Highshore School. In Summer 2018, we worked with Extraordinary Bodies (A collaboration between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou) to bring together Highshore students and NYT Members to form part of the community chorus of their circus show at National Theatre in August 2018, What Am I Worth?.
In 2020, we began a new partnership with Touretteshero to develop a new digital version of their Heroes of the Imagination Project. Since then we have worked with Highshore School,Samuel Rhodes School and Richard Cloudesley to deliver workshops to over 80 students – supporting them to create their very own superheroes. This project was most recently delivered in-person at Richard Cloudesley in July 2022.
This October, we were able to host Frozen Light’s ‘2065’ for a series of performances for our partner schools. Frozen Light creates exciting and original multi-sensory theatre for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and tours it to theatre venues and arts centres nationwide.
Inclusive Practice Training
NYT is committed to providing training to its full time and freelance staff in Inclusive Practice, to ensure inclusive practice at the heart of our creative community and artistic work.
As well as providing in-house training to all those who work on our auditions, courses, and inclusion projects, we have also welcomed sessions from external facilitators including Diverse City, Extraordinary Bodies, David Bellwood, and Touretteshero.
Inclusive Practice Collective
In February 2021 we launched our new Inclusive Practice Collective. Inspired by young people engaged in our inclusion programme and our work in schools, this new Collective will offer creativity, connection and a boost to drama provision in schools for disabled young people and will provide crucial jobs for young creatives facing unemployment.
The collective was enabled by the Government’s Kickstart Scheme and in its first year will create a programme of regular National Youth Theatre opportunities for young disabled people in 15 schools and colleges around the country and 60 paid job placements for young people on Universal Credit.
A number of our Inclusive Practice Collective have gone on to paid employment within NYT through our Creative Leadership work as Course Assistants and Emerging Artists.
Work in Schools
As part of our targeted Inclusion Work, National Youth Theatre holds long-standing partnerships with London-based Richard Cloudesley School, Highshore School and Samuel Rhodes SEND Secondary Schools. Since 2018 we have been working with Highshore School in Southwark to develop our creative inclusive practice through a programme of workshops, after-school clubs, and performance opportunities. Our partnership with Highshore School has also led to the creation of a relaxed audition process, through which numerous students have become NYT Members.
In 2019, we expanded our Inclusive Schools Programme and began working in Samuel Rhodes School in Islington followed by Richard Cloudesley School in 2021. Since then we have delivered a programme of both online and on-the-ground after-school clubs, work skills through drama programmes, as well as creative projects with classes across the school. Throughout 2021-22, our non-mainstream school delivery was support by our Inclusive Practice Collective - young people aged 18-24 interested in supporting disabled young people to learn through drama in an inclusive way as Inclusion Facilitators for six-month job placements.
Having completed introductory NYT workshops with their students, weekly drama provisions and careers programmes in previous academic years, we are collaborating with these partner schools to create a performance which will take place in the Workshop Theatre at the National Youth Theatre in February 2023.
We are also beginning relationships with Woodfield and Village Schools in Brent. This work with students includes introductory workshops, weekly drama provisions and a work skills programme.
This activity is designed to put inclusion at the heart of our creative community and artistic work, and actively remove barriers that might prevent young people participating in the arts.
A number of participants from our non-mainstream school partnerships have progressed onto NYT membership including participating in our short courses, intake courses and masterclasses.
We’re always interested in hearing from teachers who may be interested in getting involved in our Inclusive Schools Programme. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
We're grateful to the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund for their support of our work in Samuel Rhodes School.
With thanks to Eileen Ollieuz Head Teacher, Nicholas Clark and all the students and staff at Highshore School for their warm welcome, enthusiasm, commitment and hard work. And thanks to Cerys Normanton, Chelsea Taylor-Day, Rama Mahboubi, Christie Grant and all of the staff and students at Samuel Rhodes School.