Razed Roof

08 August 2018

Over the last two years, Razed Roof has been supporting local people in Essex with profound learning disabilities to develop theatre workshops and performances for the wider community. In this piece, we hear from Anette about the successes of the project.

“The idea for the project was developed by a group of people with learning disabilities. They came together, using Drama, to raise awareness of the issues they face; so that their experiences could be heard by the wider community.

Two years later and our project culminated in a full-scale production of 'Trisomy21' which represents much of the work we have been doing.

'Trismy21' is a performance that reflects issues raised and experienced by members of the cast and of many of those they met and interviewed. It is about experiences of living in society with a learning disability and gives a voice to many of those people.

The performance has been a powerful tool to reach many people: performed in the Harlow Playhouse’s main auditorium; a private performance for the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, the Countess of Wessex, several dignitaries from Essex County Council and Harlow District Council; and over one hundred of Razed Roof volunteers and supporters.

The script was written by members with support from the playwright Judith Johnson. Razed Roof gave a performance at a symposium at Essex University and members of the cast sat on the symposium panel to speak about their experiences to the assembled delegates.

Razed Roof has performed scenes and delivered workshop activities relating to 'Trisomy21' at a number of community events where members of the public have been able to watch and also join in. We have had more requests to contribute to events than we have the capacity to attend so the group has had to make decisions about what they can do.

In promoting and publicising 'Trisomy21', Razed Roof were invited on to two different community radio shows; several members had the experience of being interviewed and participating in an interesting, new, technological experience.

An exciting development has been that some well-established groups from London, developing theatre-work with people with learning disabilities, have been in contact. They are keen to explore working in partnership and another group is keen to be able to use the script of 'Trisomy21'. Project members have enjoyed those links and seeing and hearing about the work of other performers with learning disabilities.

An amazing development is that Razed Roof was honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services: the highest award given to local volunteer groups to recognise outstanding work done in their own community.

It has been a great project and members have said they really enjoyed the new and very different people they meet. They feel they are making new friendships and extending their social networks. The members are extremely proud of their work and the project has helped give them a louder voice and to raise awareness about issues that are important to them.

Annette Lidster, Razed Roof

Razed Roof is funded by people’s Health Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery.


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