Different Light TheatreAll rights reserved. by Different Light Theatre Trust

Learning disabled theatre

A new book offers insight into how the contribution of learning disabled artists can be negotiated in contemporary theatre.

Different Light Theatre in Ōtautahi | Christchurch is an ensemble of learning disabled artists whose experimental work calls into question long-held assumptions about both theatre and learning disability. Different Light was founded in 2004 by Tony McCaffrey, of Ara Institute of Canterbury, and informed his book Incapacity and Theatricality (2019).

Tony has recently published a second book, Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre, which offers unique insight into the question of ‘voice’ in learning disabled theatre and what is gained and lost in making performance.

This book draws on performer interviews, recordings of rehearsal processes, and informal logs of travelling together and sharing experience. These accounts engage with the practical aesthetics of theatre-making as well as their much wider ethical and political implications, relevant to any collaborative process seeking to represent the under- or un-represented. 

Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre asks how care and support can be tempered with artistic challenge and rigour. This is a vital and valuable book for anyone interested in learning disabled theatre, either as a performer, director, dramaturg, critic, or spectator.