The Storm | Theatre by the Beach

Over the 2015/2016 summer Octapod will work with Open Cage Theatre to undertake a theatre residency in the Nobbys and Newcastle Beach precinct involving a multi-disciplinary inclusive performance ensemble.

The project utilises the concept of art as placemaking and provides an opportunity for people with mixed ability to engage with the coastal community around storytelling and performance. The ensemble will work with the community to collate visual, verbal and written stories that focus on their experiences of the beach and its natural environment. The theme of the summer residency will be “The Storm” and ties in with Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and issues around mental illness.

“The Storm” will be a collection of stories from local residents, beach goers and the broader community, facilitated and supported by the mixed ability ensemble from Open Cage. It will be an ongoing interactive art installation and will inform pop-up performances in the precinct throughout the Summer (January – February 2016).

The interactions at the beach are also intended to provide opportunities to promote general awareness of other inclusive opportunities within the arts within Newcastle and the broader Hunter region.

The project has been funded by Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) to develop beach precincts that are inclusive of the needs and interests of people with disability, their friends, families and carers. Over the next 12 months SLSNSW will work with councils, businesses, service providers and community members to trial initiatives that encourage access and inclusion for people with disability in and around beaches in 3 locations: Pambula Beach (Far South Coast); Newcastle Beach and Nobbys Beach (The Hunter); and Bondi Beach (Sydney).

Octapod is excited to be part of this pilot project that will work to reduce physical and attitudinal barriers to inclusion and improve access for people with disability to information about transport, facilities and amenities, services and community events that often take place within beach precincts. Octapod has been working over the past two years to support inclusion in the arts for people with disability as well as developing pathways into the arts for artists with disability within the Newcastle area.

To stay up to date about this project and other Octapod initiatives that support inclusion in the arts for people with disability, sign up for the CANpress Enewsletter.