Full Circle Arts is pleased to announce that they have offered ten bursaries of a maximum of £1000 to emerging disabled artists or disabled led arts groups. Here Jonny Cotsen tells us a bit about himself and what the bursary will be used for:
“I am a qualified teacher and facilitator and at other times I am an artist who is dedicated to try and make theatre more inclusive and accessible. I am always exploring new ways to express my creativity and learning new performance skills. I regularly attend theatre productions and reflect on ways to they could be made accessible. I am an advocate for change within drama and theatre in Wales, challenging prejudices and judgments of the people with disabilities within the Arts. When I am not doing this, my time is well spent eating Jaffa Cakes.
My project, ‘Louder Is Not Always Clearer’ is originated from my life experience and I want to explore communication through movement, and investigate how it feels to be isolated and frustrated through failure at communication. ‘Louder Is Not Always Clearer’ will be an interactive performance that will draw the audience into a deaf person’s world. It will offer people the experience of living in a deaf world. I want the audience to leave the performance with an a sense of what it is like to be a deaf person.
So if I was to describe this project to you, this is how I would do it…
Have you ever wondered what it is like for a deaf person trapped in a hearing world? Imagine you are walking through a park, you are looking at a baby in a pushchair crying, an elderly couple talking on a bench, the wind blowing the leaves in the trees, a dog barking, a group of teenagers playing football, a couple having a tearful argument, a person on a bike, another on the phone…then imagine all those unique individual sounds as a single hum. This is my world as a deaf person. I like to describe the noise as being in a small room with a hundred people talking all at once. You can’t make sense of it. You can’t hear one person over another. It all sounds like one distorted track, with no words. Imagine you are now past the park and living every single moment of your life with that sound, like you are trapped in that small room of noise. You are on a date, you are driving a car, you are in a restaurant, you are having a drink at the pub with some friends, you are at a gig, you are in the supermarket. This is what is has been like for me all my life…trapped.
This project will provide the foundation for further development of my project as I am looking to take this to the R&D phase. It was initially funded by National Theatre Wales’s WalesLab (https://www.nationaltheatrewales.org/waleslab) which set the groundwork of supporting me by bringing in two hearing and one deaf actors to work with me. During that week, we told stories, played and we developed a shared language in how we communicate through movements. I am very fortunate that Full Circle Arts has now given me that opportunity to bring in a Visual Vernacular Artist to help us how we develop stories without using verbal language. I am hoping that by doing Visual Vernacular which will be the answer that I am looking for. VV is a theatrical art form of physical expression, story telling with strong sense of body movements, iconic signs, gestures, facial expressions.
This will hopefully help me to develop ‘Louder Is Not Always Clearer’ further and will give me confidence for my Research and Development application with Arts Council Wales. Brian Duffy, an award winning deaf actor and an expert in VV (Visual Vernacular) will be training us. This will be taking place in Cardiff at the end of August. I am very excited by this opportunity and I look forward to be working with Brain Duffy on this project.”
Showreel – https://vimeo.com/157695130