Expressive Edge, our theatre company for adults with learning disabilities, delivered a brilliant performance of their devised play Murder In Paradise last month in our theatre.
Nikki Mailer, one of our drama specialists who leads Expressive Edge talked to us about how the show was devised and working with our fantastic company:
Expressive Theatre Company based at The Edge devise original theatre with learning disabled actors. The actors work together drawing on different themes to create a play. The actors began their devising process in October 2017 with the theme of a murder mystery play. It is always an exciting journey as the shape of the play continuously changes, this gives the actors a sense of freedom to improvise and express themselves in new ways; it also means they have ownership of what they have created. We have 16 members, all with an array of different abilities adding to the play’s richness. The group are brilliant at comedy and so most of our plays are playful and hopeful.
Murder in Paradise begins in a surreal world where the main character Henry wakes up with a sore head and he sees the grim reaper standing next to him…then he realises he is dead! Henry as a character might have a few enemies as he owes money to the Mitchell brothers and is having an affair, all of this in the backdrop of a paradise island where he is about to get married. Luckily after the night of his murder the grim reaper gives him a second life, so the play ends on a comical, surreal and hopeful note. It combined live Swing and Jazz music from the 50’s and 60’s such as the wonderful Nat King Cole, and a fantastic set so we could enter the world of the play.
The group work towards 2 shows a year and these productions give families an opportunity to see the actors achieving and flourishing in a way that other, more formal and less creative activities may not be able to do. The feedback we get from our audiences is extremely good and we have received donations from happy audience members after a production on several occasions. This is clearly a very important and positive part of our participant’s lives, which in turn has a positive effect on families.
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Read more about Expressive Edge here
Photos by: Jim Ross Photography
Set Design: David Howorth
Lighting Design: Samuel Rowe