Rachael Woodward

 

RACHAEL :: IT’S IN MY HEAD

Theatre Maker / Performer / Director. Balcatta, WA

I am a Perth based performance maker, and I would love the opportunity to learn more about how I can make my work more accessible.

I am a performance making graduate from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and have a particular interest in directing, devising and facilitating performance. I love to create visual based work and work that creates a conversation with the audience. Since graduating from WAAPA I have directed a show at Blue Room Theatre called What’s Love Got To Do With It? and had the opportunity to develop my solo show, Valentine, as part of Spare Part Puppet Theatre’s FirstHand program.

As an emerging artist I would love to use this opportunity to not only learn more about the aesthetics of access but integrate them into my process and style. Aesthetics of access is not something that I got the opportunity to learn at WAAPA. It is really important to me that my work is accessible. Theatre and art for me is about connection and communication. I want to make my work more accessible so I can have a conversation with my audience.

I am interested in the aesthetic of access not just because it will be practically helpful for some audience members but I feel as though it will push me to make more interesting artistic choices. By making my work more accessible I am allowing everyone a different entry point and I am making it more universal.

My interest in the aesthetic of access comes from my own experience of needing access requirements. I have been diagnosed or labeled as disabled, with specific learning difficulties and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and also being rejected by some people because these are mild conditions and I am not disabled enough. Although I don’t identify as being disabled I find myself stuck between two worlds, and two identities and it doesn’t need to be that way. People with access requirements should not have to feel isolated or alone, they should not have to feel inconvenient or alienated, access helps everyone.

As well as making theatre I like to support and facilitate other people to have their voices heard. As a teaching artist I help support kids with disabilities in the class giving them an extra hand or a different way into an exercise. My job is to make sure I am doing everything I can to help the kids feel supported and help them integrate into the class (for some of them it is the only main stream activity that they do). I have been able to watch them grow, become more confident, and make lasting friendships and at the same time I have watched the class as a whole grow and unite because everyone is included.

Being able to do workshops with Clare Cunningham last year as part of PIAF connect really opened my mind up to a world of possibilities that I want to explore further. I learnt about myself, my identity, about my limitations and about theatre and disability. Now I want to figure out how I can put this into my practice.

The opportunity to meet other like minded people, and help develop a strong community in Perth that is passionate about accessible art.

I would love to be a part of this residency so I can learn, get advice, listen to the wisdom of Jenny will bring and to watch, explore with what I am sure will be an amazing group of participants.