During the lockdown earlier this year, we took time to think about our future direction as a company. Where do we go next? What needs to change? We met and spoke with many deaf actors, artists and theatre makers here in Scotland, and one thing came through, above all: create more opportunities for deaf talent. Create space for work led by deaf artists. It’s not enough to be ‘inclusive’, they said. It’s about the stories we tell, and who is telling those stories.
One of the results of that process is ‘Make a Change’, our new bursary programme for deaf theatre makers in Scotland. The bursaries are to empower deaf artists, support skills development, and to research and test ideas for new performance projects.
We’re excited to announce that there were 11 successful applications. They cover a wide range of ideas and subject matter– such as ties, mermaids, climate change and gender identity. Different styles too from devised work, to visual theatre, cabaret and a series of songs in Gaelic and BSL. We’ll start to share details of the bursaries over the next few months, so watch this space to find out more about the amazing work that’s being developed.
Why ‘Make a Change’? Well, the artists involved want to change something in their own career, to push and challenge themselves creatively. Also, they want to change something in the wider world, and improve the opportunities open to them and deaf talent of the future. Finally, it’s also changing Solar Bear. We hope ‘Make a Change’ is a vital step towards a new way of working for us – more collective, collaborative, and built around work led by deaf artists.
Jonathan Lloyd, Creative Director