Open Arts turns your home into a playhouse

Open Arts is inviting disabled people and their families from across Northern Ireland to participate in Takeaway Theatre, a unique, one-time only show which is created and performed at home.

With the expertise and guidance of Open Arts performers, people with disabilities aged 5 and over and their families will co-create and participate in a short play incorporating themes, ideas and props which are of interest to them. The concept of Takeaway Theatre was originally developed by lead artist, Meabh Ivers who has partnered with Open Arts to expand the project.

Eileen Branagh, Chief Executive of Open Arts said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted for everyone the experience of being confined to their homes, which is the reality for many disabled people for much of the time. Takeaway Theatre will enable families to co-create a fun, inclusive and memorable experience and will enable the disabled person to take a leading creative role, rather than focusing on caring needs, which has been the case for many people during the pandemic.

“This process is about engagement and empowerment for the disabled person, but it also enables family members to create a unique, shared experience. The opportunity to enjoy an arts performance in the safety and comfort of home could also be the stepping stone to inspire disabled people to venture out again to a public arts or cultural event.”

(Front) Meabh Ivers and Jessica Samoy Plunkett from Open Arts arrive for a Takeaway Theatre with (back) Lorcan Gallagher and his mum Emily.

Emily Gallagher and her husband John, whose sons Oisín and Lorcan have different types of autism, welcomed Takeaway Theatre into their home for a recent performance.

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“Oisín and Lorcan, who both have autism, were characters in the ‘Takeaway Theatre’ story,” explained EMily. “I couldn’t believe how engaged both boys were. Lorcan was a bit embarrassed at the start but both performers brought him out of himself to the extent he was sad when they left. Oisín laughed throughout and stayed in the room the whole time. As a family it was a heart-warming and fun experience and we absolutely loved it.”

Open Arts would like to recruit two people with disabilities and their families per month from August 2022 until June 2023 to stage Takeaway Theatre performances in their respective homes To apply for one of these free places, email [email protected] to register your interest.