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Access All Areas plans Hackney Project

Adam Smith
Adam Smith Image credit: Dayo Koleosho photo by Caroline Moore

Still, Here is an audio walking tour, led by Access All Areas Black Cab Company, a collective of autistic and learning disabled artists.

Still, Here looks at the artists unique experience of lockdown and will launch on the day when the borough would normally have celebrated Hackney Carnival on Sunday 13 September - Saturday 31 October 2020, at various locations throughout Hackney. The project includes an audio description and video caption and lasts 90 minutes with stops every 5-10 minutes. The route is accessible by wheelchair.

In a year when the annual commotion of street carnivals has fallen silent, audiences are invited instead to visit the streets of Hackney and hear learning disabled and autistic artists share their experiences of lockdown, and their hopes for the 'new normal'.

Still, Here is an invitation to stop and see through new eyes. It is a love letter to the places the artists have missed, and a call to action to remember our neighbours and consider our own places in a post-lockdown world. The event will include stops at key locations to hear artists’ reflections through spoken word, recorded conversations and found sound. Audiences will be able to enjoy the experience in their own time as there will not be any live performers or ushers en route. Instead, audiences will be guided by signage to stops along the route and no physical interaction will be required, to ensure that the experience follows social distancing guidelines.

The production is co-directed by Helen Bryer and Adam Smith. Adam is one of nine learning disabled trainee leaders on the Arts Council funded Transforming Leadership programme* as part of which he co-directs Access All Areas’ Take Part programme. As well as directing he also leads drama workshops, writes and performs music. He has a BMus Classical Music Degree and a MMus Degree in Composition. Adam has performed and composed for Face Front, Vital Xposure, Mind the Gap, The National Theatre, Southbank Centre and Emergency Exit Arts.

Helen is Access All Areas’ Director of Take Part & Train, leading on the company’s participatory work throughout England. She is the course leader of Access All Areas' Performance Making Diploma at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. Helen has been Black Cab Company’s director since 2017 and directed ‘Winged’ at Hackney Showroom in 2019. Helen has also worked for Graeae, The Orpheus Centre and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre. Sound Design for Still Here is by John Kelly.

“DEFIANTLY DIFFERENT” The Guardian (on Access All Areas)

Access All Areas are known for making disruptive theatre and performances by learning disabled and autistic artists. Their immersive performance events create intimate moments of interaction between performers and public, occupying unexpected spaces in venues, on the streets, and in public buildings.

Access All Areas supports the artistic development of some of the world’s leading learning disabled creatives. The award-winning Performance Making Diploma, in collaboration with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, is breaking new ground in training for emerging learning disabled theatre makers.

The Black Cab Company has always been at the heart of Access All Areas’ work; making shows in Hackney since 1976. Since 2017 their street performances have opened Hackney Carnival. Black Cab Company artists are learning disabled and autistic residents of East London who are passionate about telling unusual stories about everyday life. Their productions have taken place in London venues including Hoxton Hall, Rich Mix, Hackney Showroom and Chats Palace, as well as taking over unusual spaces in East London including Hoxton Street Market and Sutton House.

Still, Here is an exciting and unique event that aims to encourage people to go outside and engage in East London. The production was commissioned by Chats Palace, presented in association with Shoreditch Town Hall as part of Hackney Carnival.

LISTINGS and BOOKING INFORMATION:

Still, Here has no set time as the route is self-guided. The tour covers various locations in Hackney, beginning at Hackney Town Hall and ending at Homerton Hospital. The entire route lasts approximately 90 minutes, with stops every 5-10 minutes and audiences choose to engage with one, a few or all the stops. It is recommended to experience Still, Here in the daytime to enjoy people watching and lunch spots along the way. There is no need to book Still, Here is FREE. You will need your own smartphone and headphones then simply scan the QR code at each stop on your smartphone to begin. A map of the route available on Access All Area’s website:

Still, Here is for ages 9+ but parents and carers are asked to consider the interests of individual children. The route is fully accessible by wheelchair and mobility scooter. Each stop will include audio description that you will listen to as part of the experience. There will be a video caption for each stop, accessible via the QR code. An Easy Read visual guide will be available on the Access All Areas website.

For any questions regarding specific access requirements, please contact