Octagon to partner with Graeae on new initiative - BEYOND

Octagon to partner with Graeae on new initiative - BEYOND

Are you a Deaf or Disabled artist that wants to be part of the changing landscape of theatre in England?

The Octagon join a number of other theatre's across the country to partner with Graeae, the UK's leading disabled led theatre company, as they launch a new initiative BEYOND - designed to transform the careers of Deaf and Disabled artists across the UK.

Championed by Graeae patrons Dame Harriet Walter and actor / musician Mat Fraser, BEYOND is designed to transform the careers of Deaf and Disabled artists, supporting new connections to artistic development opportunities, advice, training, mentoring and creative spaces within a national network of theatres.

BEYOND will act as a bridge for these artists to reach organisational leaders and national venues in order to enable them to realise their creative potential and have their voices heard. The aim is to develop greater access to regional opportunities across England and ensure that Deaf and Disabled artists are at the forefront of new and emerging work. The initiative also recognises the immense value of Graeae’s intersectionality across its communities, which include Black, Asian, ethnic minority and LGBTQIA+ artists.

We are delighted to partner with Graeae along with Curve in Leicester, Nottingham Playhouse, Cast in Doncaster, Hull Truck Theatre, Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot, Live Theatre in Newcastle and Northern Stage in Newcastle.  Each venue has pledged to provide skill development and advice and each will actively offer support for a new wave of Deaf and disabled-led work.  Specifically BEYOND participating theatres will offer the following to the individual artists who enrol on the scheme:-

  • Creative space and support to explore theatrical ideas.
  • Shadowing opportunities within R&D and rehearsal processes.
  • Mentoring support
  • Support in sourcing funding and bursaries
  • Access to existing artist development schemes
  • Access to a digital toolkit on Graeae’s website that will provide practical guidance and learning resources (available from autumn/winter 2020).

There will be at least 100 hours of mentoring and 600 hours of rehearsal space across BEYOND. In addition to space, time and people, we will be offering a number of targeted micro-grants to unlock additional resources and help projects achieve their full potential. 

Over the coming months, with hands-on guidance from Graeae, each of the participating theatres will be preparing to meet these undertakings, ready for their re-opening after the current pandemic restrictions are lifted.  Once the scheme is underway the theatres will take guidance by Graeae who will liaise with both organisational and individual participants at every step of the way.

Deaf and disabled artists at all stages of their career are being invited to enrol onto the BEYOND programme, by any means accessible to them.


WATCH - BSL video on the BEYOND programme

WATCH - BSL video on how to apply

CLICK - for easy read version of BEYOND programme

If there is a project or idea that needs a boost, that would benefit from the support of others’ experience or resources, artists are encouraged to submit it now.

Participating artists will have the opportunity to build lasting relationships with one or more of the theatres based on a shared learning process as both navigate through the changing cultural landscape. These relationships will provide further career development possibilities beyond the programme and support to create work that is sustainable and responsive to the current climate and beyond.

BEYOND is supported by Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation, Sir James Reckitt Charity, Helen Jean Cope Charity and Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust.