Project information

Graeae Ensemble training programme

We want to run a 2nd year of our Ensemble programme, where 6 young disabled people will be paid to receive world-class training from industry professionals in drama, acting and theatre making. This provides employment opportunities for young disabled people, while improving diversity in the industry

January 2017 - July 2017

Charity information: Graeae Theatre Company Ltd

Graeae Theatre Company Ltd logo
  • Need


    Despite previous Graeae training programmes, drama schools still fail to engage with disabled students, creating an enormous gap in their learning opportunities. Furthermore, employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled artists (particularly in education programmes) are infrequent due to the lack of trained artists, unawareness of the talent of many disabled artists and widespread prejudice. Where disabled actors are required for a part, often non-disabled actors take on these roles.


    Ensemble will enable the next generation of artists to join the sector with the skills & experience that match the employment opportunities.An overview in term 1 & a specialism in term 2 will lead to practical experience on a production in the third & the opportunity to develop further employment opportunities. They will be in classrooms running workshops, representing the company and performing throughout the course.In reflection of this, the participants will be paid for every week they attend

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide paid employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled artists.


    » Paying the Deaf and disabled artists on the Ensemble programme each week they attend.
    » Training to increase employability from world-class practitioners & drama-school tutors in acting, voice, movement, improvisation & forum theatre.
    » A showcase performance from the artists at the end of the 6 month course for potential future employers: casting agents, producers and directors.
    » Mentoring and placements for the Deaf and disabled artists on the programme from leading industry professionals and within top arts organisations.

    What success will look like

    We will cast Ensemble artists in our future Graeae productions & will also measure success by each artist being employed for at least 1 project within 3 months of graduating.

    Aim 2

    To tackle widespread discrimination, & significantly diversify the employment landscape in the arts


    » With invited viewings & a showcase performance for influential industry professionals,we will educate the industry as to the talent of disabled people
    » To partner with leading drama schools across the country, so that in future, they can also be ensuring their practices are diverse and accessible.

    What success will look like

    To invite leading industry professionals to Ensemble showcase, to run training sessions for the industry, and to speak at at least 6 industry conferences/events in space of year.

  • Impact


    The legacy of Ensemble will be that drama schools across London make their application & recruitment procedures accessible, taking on disabled students. Furthermore, the project will mean that disabled actors receive an equal playing field in the mainstream theatre and film casting process. We will measure this by keeping in regular communication with drama school partners & monitoring their intake. We will also monitor diverse casting by a 15% increase in the sector over the next 5 years.


    The main potential risk is that any of the Ensemble artists, teaching staff or drama school partners could pull out of the project. However, we are mitigating these with backup & waiting list options that we can draw on if necessary. Before starting the project, a full audit for all artists' access needs will be drawn up, & all requirements adapted or met. Accessible accommodation for all artists will also be sourced well in advance, allowing for time to find replacements if necessary.


    Donors will be invited regularly to showcase performances from the Ensemble artists, sent video diaries and blogs from the artists, and invited to the final end of year sharing. Email updates from the programme during the six months will also be sent, as well as a final written evaluation report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £138,694

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £25,885 Ensemble Co-ordinator Salary for Ensemble Coordinator 4 days a week over 9 months
      £42,464 Ensemble Artist fees Fees for 6 x Ensemble artists, 3 days a week over 9 months
      £13,934 Mentor & tutor fees Fees & travel for tutors & mentors (3 x mentors x 6 days each)
      £9,990 Marketing & Eval Costs for marketing, recruitment & evaluation documentation, including filming
      £8,770 Space & overhead Costs for space and overhead costs
      £18,343 Access costs Costs for access support, including sign language interpreters, support workers & accessible travel
      £19,308 Tour of Production Ensemble members to tour production as end of year project

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    City Bridge Trust £10,000 Guaranteed
    EY (Ernest & Young) £30,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Ensemble programme will take place at Graeae's state of the art and fully accessible rehearsal facilities in Hoxton, London (same location as Graeae offices). In addition, some 'field trips' will take place for the Ensemble artists to see productions across London. At the end of the project, the Ensemble artists will tour a production to schools across Hackney (exact locations tbc).


    The Ensemble programme will primarily benefit young Deaf and disabled people from across the UK, aged between 18 and 22. In addition, the drama school partners will also benefit in receiving guidance on how to make the principals and practices accessible, so they can audition and recruit Deaf and disabled students in the future.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Graeae has a reputation borne through years of experience. Our first artist development scheme, Missing Piece, ran for over 4 years and graduates are now seen throughout theatre, dance & television. These programmes are proven to work, & it is Graeae's 35 years experience in this area, coupled with our commitment to all training being disabled led, that appeals so much to young Deaf and disabled artists.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director, Paid

    Jodi will oversee & strategically direct,line-managing the Ensemble Coordinator,all access support workers & managing drama school relationships.

    Ensemble Coordinator (Paid Individual To Be Recruited)

    The Ensemble Coordinator will underpin the daily management of the programme, coordinating logistics & ensuring smooth daily running.

    Access Team (Paid Individuals To Be Recruited)

    The Access Team are creative enablers & sign language interpreters,in place to ensure the young artists can work & learn in an accessible environment.


Will pay for 10 sessions from skilled practioners,who will teach & mentor our Deaf/ disabled artists

"I have grown more than I could have imagined. I have worked with some of the industry's best & have managed to break down personal barriers. This was the best way for me to start my career as an actor. Graeae has helped me so much."

Josh King, Ensemble Artist year 1