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The Curious Case of Aberlliw by Taking Flight Theatre and LAS Theatre

A Welsh theatre company has made the shortlist of the 2022 ‘Fantastic for Families’ awards which showcases the best in UK creative provision for children and older audiences.

Taking Flight Theatre, a company of Deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers, is the only Wales based company to be nominated.

The company made the shortlist under the ‘Best Family Arts Activity’ category for its innovative co-production ‘The Curious Case of Aberlliw’, along with LAS Theatre.

Teaming up as the national lockdowns came to an end, Taking Flight and LAS created an app-based hybrid event in a bid to offer an engaging, inclusive, cultural experience for family audiences which were not yet feeling safe to get back to the theatre in a post-pandemic world.

The app helped families re-engage with each other and nature, using tech in a positive way to stimulate family interaction. The app was available in English and Welsh, with both languages supported by BSL sign language and captioned videos.

Responding to a mission brief from ‘The Department of Strange Events’, participants were called up to solve puzzles, find clues and go adventuring, using the app in the great outdoors at Llyn Llech Owain, Cross Hands and Bryngarw Country Park.

Agents

Once signed up, the participants became ‘agents’ for the Department of Strange Events and they received a time slot and a mission brief which could either be accessed on their own phones, or on tablets loaned by the company.

This year the project developed further, allowing for the integration of a live opening show with actors on site interacting with families throughout their experience. The event toured Wales between April and August, on tour and as part of the Summer of Fun initiative.

Revealing the shortlisting announcement on Twitter, the company said: “The cat is out of the bag! We are over the moon that we made the cut this year @fantasticforfam Out of adversity and all that. Much love to @LAStheatre @matts_graphics @awen_wales & @TheatrauSirGar without whom we would never have put the colour back in #Aberlliw.”

Disabled talent

Taking Flight says it aims to make bold, unusual theatre productions with Deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers, performing in unusual, out-of-the-way places as well as traditional theatre spaces.

By running inclusive professional training courses & mentoring schemes for people who identify as Deaf or disabled and are looking for the next step into a career in theatre, or to develop existing skills & build confidence, they nurture the next generation of disabled talent, both on stage & behind the scenes.

Taking Flight is just about to launch it’s latest production, ‘Road’ by Jim Cartwright (The Rise & Fall of Littlevoice) in a new accessible imagining of the play, relocated to the South Wales Valleys.

LAStheatre’s practice centres around participatory performance, working alongside communities to playfully develop a vocabulary to ignite and stimulate important conversations.

The company also toured the popular Rascally Diner around Welsh venues as part of this year’s Summer of Fun activities.

Ceremony

Winners will be announced on 16 November 2022 in the free online awards ceremony.

More information about the other categories and companies who made the shortlist can be found here and information about organisations that are in the ‘Fantastic for Families’ directory can be found here.


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