Jolt Theatre (1995)

Purpose

Heads Together had always had a particular focus of working with people with disabilities. Working at Upper Springland gave us the opportunity to really push the boundaries. To have the time and consistency over a couple of years to create theatre with a group of people with severe physical disabilities that would leave the audience thinking about the performance, not the disability.

Details

There was a drama group at Upper Springland–Jolt Theatre. They worked on short performances and the annual pantomime and enjoyed having other people come to the Centre to work with them. They wanted to develop their skills and were up for new challenges. We ran a series of intensive week residencies over several years, arriving at the theme of Crossing the Line–looking at the times when each of us has the courage to step into the unknown.

An early workshop with Jolt Theatre

Partners

Again, this was an opportunity to forge an ongoing partnership with an institution. Upper Springland was run by Capability Scotland so it was a case of developing links with the national organisation whilst working with the staff at the local facility. A lot of that was down to one man, Hugh Murdoch, sadly no longer with us.

But we were determined to add in one more line for the whole group to cross. To do a performance in a public theatre rather than in the confines of the institution, the Studio at Perth Theatre.

Funding

Apart from money and resources provided by Capability Scotland, support came from the District Council in Perth and from the Scottish Arts Council, who were very positive about seeing our work develop.

This is vibrant, unapologetic, memorable drama...the impact is driven straight into the bloodstream–you feel the meaning.

Lesley Riddoch

The Scotsman: 30th May 1995

What We Learned

A question of time and timing. 

The people we were working with moved slowly and had difficulty communicating. They couldn't work long days or long weeks. But they showed remarkable determination and commitment

Developing the work was a slow process. The rhythm included intense periods of activity and then time to rest and reflect. Sometimes things seemed to develop because we left them alone for a while.

To achieve change, takes time... in this case about 3 years of work to create one remarkable performance. But it was definitely worth it. 

The learning was that, if we really wanted to be effective, we had to commit in the long-term...

Members of Jolt Theatre performing alongside young people from Bradford and Galway