Pitching ‘Grow Up’ @ Unlimited Connects

Unlimited Connects was a fascinating day of hearing pitches for some fantastic shows. In the morning we had a conversation about disabled artists and what jobs we are happy to do in organisations to promote real change and inclusion. On the other hand, we need to consider if we are just there to tick a box. If you’re happy to be a tick box, do it amazingly so that disabled people and artists might not be seen as boxes to tick in the future. It was a very interesting conversation to be a part of. There was some fantastic chatter to listen to.
Then it was pitch time, and there was so much incredible talent in the room – Bim Ajadi, Hotcoals Theatre, Hannah Treadaway and Jamie Beddard. all pitched their shows, as well as me. It was an incredible day. This was my pitch, and my plans for ‘Grow up and Just Love Chocolate’…

Hi Everyone, my name is David Young and I am The Shouting Mute. I am a poet, performance artist and an activist. I believe that there should be more voices like mine on stage. AAC users are vastly under represented in the arts and I would like to change that. I believe it is the unexpected people in the room who have the most to say but they are often not listened to.

I’d like to talk to you about my current project called ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ which is a piece of theatre that combines spoken word, puppetry and movement. The story, written by myself, from my perspective as an AAC user, explores relationships between people and equipment. It also explores voices and experiments with giving people and things a voice that do not usually have one. During the show audiences will see inanimate objects become animated, like this very wheelchair I am sitting in, come to life and demonstrate its own character and voice. Previous audience members have described the show as funny, uplifting and deeply moving. Audiences say that the show made them think about a different world.

I believe that a tour of the show would be a good opportunity to run workshops alongside it. I would really like to deliver workshops to other AAC users to explore their voices in a creative environment and what the objects in their world might sound like. Workshops are a great tool to continue exploring ideas as well as giving a rare opportunity for AAC users to explore creative talent.

I would like to bring together artists, organisations and AAC users and I’d like to be able to share my show with a wide range of people.

Now I am going to show you a short film about the project. The film includes shots from a performance of grow up and just love chocolate and shots from the rehearsals. You will see me and 3 actors. I am shown in my wheelchair, in my walking frame which surrounds my body and lying down on a mat with my head to the ground. Group images show actors manipulating my equipment so they look as though they are speaking. A puppet made out of dairy milk bars lap dancing on me. Me with my shirt ripped open being smothered in chocolate and the creative team preparing for the show during a technical rehearsal here at Salisbury playhouse.

Film (2 minutes) – THIS CAN BE SEEN ON THE GROW UP TAB OF MY WEBSITE

So, this project has had 2 rounds of funding from the arts council, one for research and development to explore different ways of performing poetry which led us to create the show, and the second one to make a performance from that content which was performed here in February. The show is for age 15 years+ because of the content and will be a mixed audience including disabled and non-disabled people.

We are now ready for the next step in the journey. I am looking for venues that may be interested in booking the work and spaces to help me develop it even more, including the workshops. I am also looking for producing support and of course more funding. I would welcome any conversations about the project, your thoughts, ideas and any pointers. I have contacts with the AAC users community and I am an influencer.

I would like to thank Unlimited Connects for inviting me to speak about my project and to this great venue for being generally fantastic.

To continue the conversation you can email me on dave@theshoutingmute.com and find me as The Shouting Mute on social media.

Thank you very much

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