Three Sessions, 2019/20 at Progress Lab 1422 (Vancouver, BC)

Expanding on the core of our integrated ensemble from King Arthur’s Night, LEAD is a performance ensemble made up of both neurotypical and neurodiverse creator-performers.

Facilitators: Nathan Kay, Anton Lipovetsky, Lucy McNulty, & Marcus Youssef. Producer: Sandra Henderson. Produced by Neworld Theatre. In partnership with posAbilities. With the support of the Vancouver Foundation, BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, Hamber Foundation and the Canada Council.

How We Got Here

After premiering our mixed-ability production King Arthur’s Night at the Luminato Festival in 2017, one of the first things we were told by the community actors’ families was that they were steeling themselves for it all to come to an abrupt end. So we decided to create the LEAD Ensemble. The plan was to use the basic model that we used to create King Arthur’s Night – working together across difference to adapt stories we’re all (mostly) familiar with to make them reflect what is most meaningful to us. Some of the participants were part of King Arthur’s Night. And some we met through the Stage Door program, or through friends. We decided to meet on Monday nights for six weeks in a row, without a production goal in mind – just to practice working together as an ensemble. Informing this work is a principle we discovered while making King Arthur’s Night: every single one of us in the room is good at some things and not so good at others. Two other principles that feel important to us: (1) we will respect each other, listen, and take the time necessary for people to participate in a way that feels good to them; (2) we will make mistakes. That’s a good thing. A mistake is the exact right thing in search of a different question (to steal from Bruce Mau). We’re finding that these values in theatre and art-making can allow us to create a more inclusive practice AND better work. Our experience so far tells us these go hand in hand. And here we are. –Marcus Youssef

Photos & Video by Cam Anderson, Cascade Film & Media