The Future of Performing Arts – Q&A

Hey everyone. I was recently asked to be part of a conference to discuss the future of performing arts, and I thought the questions were brilliant. So I wanted to share them with you as a blog post, to get you thinking! Plus I’ve included the answers I gave in the panel discussion –

1)  How can youth arts and arts education play a role in creating a more diverse and inclusive arts industry?

Great question. Arts education is very important for everyone. Arts can communicate and be a discussion for so many things. It can tell individual stories and explore characters, human rights and climate change. Art can reflect big world issues.

For me telling stories is a way of having a safe space to work things out about the world. Arts can bring people together to do that and it is a very special and valuable experience for everyone to have. Arts education and youth arts play an important role in making sure that every young person can explore themselves creatively. Sadly this is not the case with all youth arts work.

Could you tell us about your route to becoming a professional writer and performer?  How did arts opportunities in school and alongside it support you to develop as an artist and move into professional work? 

Opportunities made my career and they still do today. To get an opportunity you do have to put your hand up. But don’t be afraid of doing so. 

2)  I’d like to discuss able-bodied actors playing disabled characters (and winning awards for doing so). What’s your perspective on this debate?  Should able-bodied actors take on these roles? 

This is a challenging question and a question that I have been thinking about a lot over the last few years. Personally I can see a problem in the disabled narratives in theatre and film. Which stops disabled people getting those disabled roles. For me  I would like to ask what are we aiming for? Do we want disabled actors just get disabled roles. Or do we want to see a disabled James Bond, a disabled Oliver Twist, a disabled person in a Marvel film, which reports are saying we are very close to.

I think there is a problem with the disabled narrative, which stops disabled people getting disabled roles because a large chunk of disabled stories doesn’t enable a disabled people to play the role. I think it goes much deeper than casting. I think it is a narrative issue as well. We need disabled writers, disabled producers as well as disabled actors.

3)  What kinds of support mechanisms have enabled you to work professionally?  What advice would you give to others about starting out and finding their support mechanisms, networks or communities? 

Find a community and love it. See what you can learn. Meet your work colleagues and have creative explorations with them. Community doesn’t have to just be local, there are online communities too, so distance and accessibility can be gotten over.

There are so many people out there ready and willing to connect and support others, you just have to look for them, and that can be as simple as going online and searching for the kind of people you want to find to connect with and work with. Community and support is so important right now, so let’s not lose that because of social distancing.

4)  What does the performance industry of the future look like?  Where do we go from here? 

I think we need to create work on and off line and create the new normal with everyone in the core of the new world. I think adding online performances and workshops would actually make this work more accessible than ever before.

A lot of us are more comfortable staying at home right now, and working from home, so moving this world online makes more sense, and it can be a great new way of starting conversations and building new relationships and connections. Performances can be livestreamed or recorded and shared online which would cover both online and offline audiences.

Poems from the Writing Workshop

We had a really great writing workshop last week, and the poems were so good that we asked the writers if we could share them.

The theme was food and this is what a couple of our writers came up with…

Okay so it’s a Saturday and I’m feeling like picking me up a weekend treat so I pop into my local McDonald’s and order a quarter pounder with cheese meal. A few minutes later it arrives at my table and I go to take a bite out of the burger and instantly feel deep regret and the urge to want to reverse time and tell my younger less experienced with knowledge self about what’s going to happen. Oh boy oh boy how much I hate pickles! They are revolting and make me want ro be sick whenever I see someone munching down on a pickle. It makes no sense to me to put a pickle in a burger. It just does not go together. When will they learn! It needs to go. It must. 

By Josh Ward

Marmite, is it made of mites?

This might sound like a stupid and bizarre question, but I don’t think it is.

The reason I ask this is because it tastes so strong. So potent. So vile. 

An awful aftertaste that lingers in my mouth hours later. 

How can people love it, JUST HOW???!!!

As a child, the thought of tasting Marmite just gave me a fright.

The only way to avoid the terrible taste of it was to put up a fight. 

A fight against my whole mouth being defeated.

Defeated and overpowered by that tedious tang. 

It’s now in chocolate.


Just how can such a delicious food be ruined by this terrible tripe?

It’s also in peanut butter too.

Great, another favourite food of mine ruined!

Maybe it’s just me?

Maybe there was something wrong with my tastebuds as a child?

Maybe they’ve now changed? Matured? 

I decide to find out once and for all to see if that this is the case. 

I get out a spoon. I get out a jar of Marmite. 

I open the jar of Marmite.

I dunk the spoon into it and scoop a fair portion into my mouth. 

YUCK! I put the spoon down into the sink. I spit it out. 

It’s definitively not me, it’s Marmite. 

By Parisa Tavassolian

If you’re keen to get involved in one of The Shouting Mute Online Writing Workshops, or if you have any writing you would like us to share on your behalf email

The Shouting Mute leading a creative writing workshop at 1Voice

Hello all. Happy Monday! There are still two places left in the online writing workshop this Wednesday at 6pm, and we’ve dropped the price to £3 payable via PayPal. If you want some food themed writing fun, with tips and tasks, grab your spot today!

We’ll be writing poems and you’ll get feedback on your writing from me, The Shouting Mute, and my creative enabler Kerry, who is also a writer. It will be fantastic to get together for some creative fun as a group, and you can munch on your favourite snack while we write, and tell us all about it if you like. Email to grab your spot.

Breaking News…

Breaking news… thankfully not about the Corona Virus, Trump or Brexit. Is that rubbish still really going on?

I have some good news for you – I’m offering a new online writing workshop and this one is on writing about food. Who doesn’t love food?

These workshops have been so popular that the time has come to ask for a little contribution towards it – for £7 you will get to come together with other likeminded people on a zoom video call with me, hear me read aloud one of my poems, write your own poem about your favourite or most hated food on earth, get feedback from me and my PA who is a published writer herself, chat with the group, and you can ask any questions that you would like to ask at the end.

We’re going to hold this workshop in the evening this time to open it up to people who couldn’t make it during the day so it will be at 6pm on Wednesday 30th September and there are 5 spots available – disabled and non-disabled people, writers and non-writers, are all welcome.

These workshops usually end up being a fun conversation around writing, creativity, and how to express yourself through poetry.

To book your spot or if you have any questions, email

An Amazing Experience I Recommend…

Hello again friends!

So I found the drive in cinema, and it is fantastic. I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show – another fantastic musical. Let’s do the time warp again! It was such a good experience. The sound was through a speaker that you get driving in. You can bring or buy your own snacks. And it was an excellent experience. You should definitely try it if you can.

I went in the rain, which was annoying and the car was steaming up, but other than that it was still excellent. People were getting out of their cars and dancing socially distanced in their bubbles. I loved it.

If you don’t already know, the Rocky Horror Picture Show has this very special culture to it that no other musical has. People dress up and everything is extraordinary and sexy. Go see it if you get the chance, and you’ll see what I mean. But it was even more amazing at the drive in cinema.

Have you ever been to a drive in cinema, or experienced the Rocky Horror Picture Show? What did you think?