Unbounded was a physical theatre project, which ran weekly (online due to Covid-19 restrictions) one hour sessions with five brand new community groups for children and young people with learning disabilities across Birmingham, from March 2021 – July 2021.
During the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, the need to meaningfully engage with young people with learning disabilities was more urgent than ever. In June and July 2020, people with autism were ‘seven times more likely to be chronically lonely’ and ‘six times more likely to have low life satisfaction’ (National Autistic Society 2020, in partnership with Mind), than people without autism.
Open Theatre achieved funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and with much pride, created five successful groups, in partnership with Birmingham’s Local Arts Forums. All of the children and young people were able to get together in person in each of the groups for a celebration event in July 2021. Several of the families now stay in contact and children and young people have new local friends.
We now plan to build on what we have started through our work on Unbounded, scaling it up so that we can have a greater impact within these communities. There is clearly the need for this work to continue; we have only scratched the surface in terms of the amount of young people that we have the potential of working with. There is still a significant lack of integration of young people with learning disabilities within their local communities – they are still unseen and undervalued. We are keen to embed longer term partnerships with the Local Arts Forums, so that we can strengthen and develop the bonds we have begun to form in the five unique local communities.
Please take a look at our Celebration day film below!
Our son has started to become so much more confident, and his school have really noticed it as well. We can’t thank you enough for all your hard work. We look forward to hearing more about what Open Theatre have planned and keeping up to date with future things.
– Parent of Participant –
As parents we now want to keep in touch. Our children love playing together and real friendships have been forged through Unbounded.
– Parent of Participant –
From January 2021 we began our outreach in preparation for the start of the Unbounded project in March 2021, which included making this film to appeal to children, parents and carers. It helped make an impact and brought a lot of children and families together within their local communities, who otherwise would not have been connected.