‘I like the stories. We are using our minds and imagination to be anything we want. We are pretending.’
Traditionally Rowan has focused on using visual art and crafts in its work with learning disabled people. As part of Rowan’s future plans, new progammes of activity are being developed and over the last year, the charity has been running research and development pilot projects in theatre and music with the view to incorporate these into our everyday programme of activity. This decision has come from substantial consultations with our existing learning disabled students and other learning disabled people whose interest is in theatre and music rather than the visual arts.
Rowan has been fortunate to work with Acting Now’s Marina Palleras who has brought extraordinary experience and energy to Rowan and has enabled many learning disabled people to part in theatre, many for the first time. Her inclusive work has led to extraordinary outcomes, and not only from our students!
In June, she supported some of our student’s to create and perform their first ever play ‘The Princesses Castaway and Other Time Machine Stories’ at Chesterton Community Festival. This was an extraordinary moment as it was for many the first time they had performed in front of other people.
‘Acting makes me feel happy. It makes me happy because I never did it before. I wasn’t nervous because I was in a group with Marina, I like being with her.’
Theatre has really enhanced the work at Rowan. It has given people confidence, enable people to learn new skills and discover new talents. The collaborate role of the arts is vital to Rowan’s continued work to support learning disabled people, enhancing lives, improving wellbeing and creating art.