A groundbreaking Hull theatre company will take to the world stage in June after being invited to speak at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial.
Concrete Youth, a charity specialising in creating work for people labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), will present their creative ASMR project.
Their research into autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) was incorporated into their 2022 touring production of The Whispering Jungle, introducing it as a sensory experience for audiences labelled with PMLD.
The Prague Quadrennial is the world’s largest festival of scenography, theatre design and architecture and has taken place every four years since 1967.
Leading artists in costume, stage, lighting, sound design and theatre architecture present, in competition, about their work for dance, opera, drama, site-specific, multi-media performances and performance art.
Daniel Swift, Concrete Youth’s CEO and Co-Artistic Director, said: “We’re thrilled to have been asked to speak at the Prague Quadrennial.
“This is a huge moment not only for Concrete Youth, but also for our audience with profound and multiple learning disabilities, who are some of the most invisible members of society.
“This platform will spread international awareness of this community of people, the barriers they face and the lack of cultural provision that they experience daily.
“We’re delighted to speak about Concrete Youth’s work, sensory theatre, and continue to champion our audience across the world.”
The company’s ASMR Project began in 2020, exploring how an audience of 50 people labelled with PMLD responded to ASMR as a sensory experience.
In 2021, the project expanded to work with hundreds of people labelled with PMLD across the world, including specialists, carers and consultants in the UK, US and Singapore.
Their findings were then incorporated into The Whispering Jungle, which featured ASMR, sensory play and sensory puppets in an immersive touring show.
Barbora Příhodová, curator of the PQ Talks, said: “We are very happy to have Concrete Youth join us as one of the speakers at the PQ Talks.
“It will be great for our audiences to learn about their work in the realm of multi-sensory theatre for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities.”
Concrete Youth is the only touring organisation in the UK to have an exclusive sensory offer for people labelled with PMLD in education and care settings.
They are currently touring To the Moon and Back, a revamped production of their debut show about space, adventure and the importance of family.
The touring department has engaged over 4,500 people labelled with PMLD across five continents, while their education department provides sensory stories, sensory workshops, sensory parties and story massage sessions for individuals labelled with PMLD.
For CEO and co-artistic director Daniel, the invitation to speak in Prague comes only four years after he attended the last Quadrennial while a student at the University of Hull.
Daniel added: “I attended the last Prague Quadrennial in 2019 when I was undertaking my master’s degree and Concrete Youth was only four months old.
“I heard talks by internationally-recognised artists and acclaimed companies and met so many amazing people at the height of their career.
“It’s incredibly exciting for me personally that Concrete Youth has been asked to speak on the same stage as the people that I admired four years ago.”
Concrete Youth’s talk will take place on 8th June 2023 at the Prague Quadrennial in Prague, Czech Republic.
For more information on the conference and to book a place, visit pq.cz.
For more information on Concrete Youth, visit www.concreteyouth.co.uk.