‘SIGN OF THE TIMES’ – INCLUSIVE THEATRE WORKSHOP at The Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw, fot. Marta Ankiersztejn 

About the project

Theatre-Dance-Disability is a joint project of Instytut Teatralny (Theatre Institute), Instytut Muzyki i Tańca (Institute of Music and Dance) and the British Council in Poland.

The project was inspired by a visit to the Unlimited Festival in London, where representatives of the Theatre Institute and the Institute of Music and Dance were invited by the British Council in 2016. The Unlimited Festival focuses on the work of artists with disabilities across all art forms. It aims to promote their work, help them reach new audiences and change the way disability is perceived in today’s society. 

In 2017, the British Council, the Theatre Institute and the Institute of Music and Dance signed a three-party agreement aiming to disseminate British best practice in the field of arts and disability. 

The Theatre-Dance-Disability project focuses on the accessibility of artistic and cultural institutions for professional artists with disabilities. 

The project was pursued in 2018–2019.

Events organised as part of the project

‘Sign of the times’ – inclusive theatre workshop

The Theatre-Dance-Disability project has commenced with a panel discussion and the ’Sign of the times’ inclusive theatre workshop organised by the Theatre Institute in Warsaw on 8–10 June 2018. The event was attended by British experts specialising in accessibility issues in the arts sector: 

  • Jenny Sealey – artistic director at Graeae Theatre Company, co-author of the 2010 London Paralympic Games opening ceremony; Jenny has shared with the Polish audience her artistic experience in building a new stage language for the Deaf and the hearing;
  • Claire Lamont – head of BA Performance in the British Sign Language and English at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; Claire has discussed the background of this unique course and presented its curriculum;
  • Ben Evans – head of the British Council’s Disability Arts programme; Ben offered insights into the British and European context of disability arts, especially theatre of the Deaf persons.

Dance workshop with David Toole and Amy Butler (Stopgap Dance Company)

The second stage of the project was held in the second half of 2018, at the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw. David Toole and Amy Butler of the Stopgap Dance Company held a workshop for dancers and choreographers, focusing on the practice of contemporary dance. The workshop was a movement laboratory. Its participants explored practical aspects of working with the disabled. 

  • David Toole – a renowned disabled dancer and actor; he is well known to the Polish theatre goers who had a chance to see him in the 'The Cost of Living’ play staged in October 2003 at Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw, as part of the tournée of the British DV8 dance theatre.

Art and Disability: Crossing the borders – Conference

The project concluded with a conference organised by the Theatre Institute, the Institute of Music and Dance and the British Council, in cooperation with EEPAP (East European Performing Arts Platform) held in Warsaw.

Conference: ‘Art & Disability: Crossing the Borders’ was devoted to increasing accessibility and participation of disabled people - artists and audiences - in culture and art. During the two days of the conference we examined the situation in Poland and in the UK related to these topics: we looked at the barriers, challenges and possible opportunities for change. Among our distinguished guest we had: Claire Cunningham (choreographer and dancer), Jo Verrent (Senior Producer, Unlimited), Marcus Dickey-Horley (Curator of Public Programmes at Tate Modern) and representatives (among the others) of Culture without Barriers and Theatre 21 from Poland. 

The conference was part of a major European collaboration, Europe Beyond Access, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


Ben Evans during INCLUSIVE THEATRE WORKSHOP meeting, fot. Marta Ankiersztejn


photo: Marta Ankiersztejn 

© Art and Disability: Crossing the borders – Conference, fot. Marta Ankiersztejn
© Art and Disability: Crossing the borders – Conference, fot. Marta Ankiersztejn