Graeae’s Ensemble training for emerging D/deaf and disabled theatre-makers formally accredited for first time


Graeae has announced the seven D/deaf and disabled theatre-makers who will take part in its Ensemble training course 2020. For the first time ever, the course will be formally accredited by Rose Bruford College. Other leading drama schools LAMDA, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and RADA will continue their role as partners on the programme.

Theatre workshop in which all participants have arms outstretched

Graeae Ensemble. Photo Oliver Cross

Barriers and attitudes sadly remain rigid for many Deaf and disabled artists to enter the theatre industry, to which Graeae responds with a third year of the pioneering course Ensemble, creatively supported and accredited by Rose Bruford College to a Level 4. Ensemble is reaching new heights with its 2020 launch of Cert HE Graeae Ensemble: Theatre Making and Leadershippaving the way for a truly inclusive drama school environment.

“We must fight to be seen, we must fight to be heard and we must never stop striving to have a voice, equal to all.”
– Ensemble Artist

Graeae and Rose Bruford have designed the Ensemble course into a 120 credit delivered across the 4 modules: The Skills of the Theatre Maker; Approaches to Performance; Think, Share, Reflect; Platform (a showcase of the work developed over the course).

Group of people sitting round in a large circle

Graeae Ensemble. Photo Becky Bailey.

The course, combined with a strong line-up of practitioners, mentors and arts organisations, sees Graeae and Rose Bruford alongside its partners deliver a vigorous Ensemble 2020 programme paving the way for a new generation of theatre-makers and future leaders.

Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director, Graeae said:

“Nothing yet exists like Ensemble. It is an utter dream to train a new generation of talent who in turn drive our ambition and learning as a company. With talented alumni underpinning its success, Ensemble only gets stronger with every new cohort and growing artistic and social investment from drama schools.”

Mat Fraser, Graeae patron, added:

“Graeae’s newly accredited Ensemble programme, ‘Cert HE Graeae Ensemble: Theatre Making and Leadership’, is a result of Graeae’s longstanding partnership with Rose Bruford College. This exciting new phase strengthens the mission towards full inclusion across UK drama schools and theatrical training. Ensemble offers many of the required skills to young artists who have not previously accessed drama school training. It’s time for change, and Graeae once again, along with Rose Bruford and partners, are leading the way.”

Composite image of 7 deaf and disabled theatre makers

The Ensemble artists 2020

Clarie Middleton, Principal and Chief Executive of Rose Bruford College also commented:

“Rose Bruford College is both pleased and proud to be collaborating with Graeae on the 2020 iteration of Ensemble. We passionately believe that all talented young artists should have the possibility of high-quality accredited training to equip them to enter the theatre and performance industries. It is just not acceptable that young Deaf and disabled artists experience barriers to drama training and we are delighted to be accrediting this unique Certificate of Higher Education (level 4) in Theatre Making and Leadership. We look forward to welcoming Ensemble 2020 to the Bruford campus.”

The artists selected are: Jamie Green, James Greenhalgh, Jamie Hale, Jennifer Gambles, Katie Watson, Sophie Tennison and Stephen Reeder.

The seven artists will further their professional development with training in both on- and off-stage roles, commencing from Wednesday 12 February 2020. From May onwards they will be devising their showcase for public performances in July. The Ensemble alumni have gone onto; securing Research and Development funding, Assistant Directing, Acting (stage, TV, Radio), Workshop facilitation, assisting with embedding access in plays and are pursuing professional careers in theatre-making

Ensemble 2020 is supported by Arts Council England, The Stage, The Backstage Trust and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.