HUDDERSFIELD theatre company Full Body and The Voice is launching a ground-breaking new book.
It charts the history of the group, which offers disabled people a chance to work in the theatre.
Written by Jon Palmer and Richard Hayhow, former artistic directors of Full Body and The Voice Theatre Company and The Shysters Theatre Company, the book entitled Learning Disability and Contemporary Theatre will be launched on April 29.
The innovative book is not only a record of the authors’ 25 years in the theatre but a new insight into the relationship between the director and actor, highlighting the future possibilities for disabled theatre performers.
The production and publication of the book has been funded by the Full Body and The Voice Theatre Company based at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, who wanted to highlight the hard work of both the company’s actors and directors.
David Smith, chairman of Full Body and The Voice Trustees, said: “Both Full Body and The Voice and The Shysters are delighted to bring this book to the attention of the artistic community and to showcase the importance of their companies work.
“We are very proud of our collective achievement and believe the book will sit within the historical canon of commentary charting the progress and direction of British theatre.”
The Full Body and The Voice company started as a one-off project run by Artlink West Yorkshire in 1996.
A group of learning disabled people attended the Lawrence Batley Theatre four days a week for 12 weeks, finishing with a performance on the main stage.
Following the group’s success it was decided to get funding so Huddersfield Mencap could run the group as a full-time company.
In 1998 money from the European Social Fund meant an Artistic Director could be appointed and administrative staff. By June 2000 The Full Body and The Voice became an independent limited company with charitable status.
In 2005 the company began to tour local communities in a bid to attract a wider audience.
In June 2007 a national conference, Act Different, held at The Lawrence Batley previewed the content of the book. The conference challenged the traditionally held misconceptions surrounding theatre practice.
Since 1996 the company has gone from strength to strength and the publication of the new book recognises the hard work by company members and the invaluable service it provides.