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MADHOUSE re:exit at Shoreditch Town Hall examines how policy fails people with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 15:49 12 March 2018

DJ Hassan, Madhouse. Picture: Michael Wharley

DJ Hassan, Madhouse. Picture: Michael Wharley

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT MICHAEL WHARLEY

Through the show “we examine how the four walls of the hospitals where people were locked away from society are now being replaced with the four walls of people’s bedrooms, as they have a lack of opportunities for engagement or support.”

Imogen Roberts, Madhouse. Picture: Michael Wharley Imogen Roberts, Madhouse. Picture: Michael Wharley

Award-winning theatre company Access All Areas brings a new immersive experience to Shoreditch Town Hall, highlighting how government policy is failing to hit the mark in helping people with learning disabilities.

MADHOUSE re:exit is the culmination of two years’ research by Access All Areas into experiences of people with learning disabilities both past and present, and aims to make a strong statement about what Nick Llewwellyn, artistic director of the company, describes as “the lack of a holistic support structure for people with learning disabilities”.

“People with learning disabilities being locked away in long stay hospitals is a very recent history,” he says, “with the changes that were long fought for being forgotten and the progress being vanished from the public consciousness.”

The immersive show will see five learning disabled artists take the audience on a journey through a maze-like corporate care facility, to explore the nature of institutionalisation and confinement, and examine what this concept means for those with learning difficulties both past and present.

Through the show “we examine how the four walls of the hospitals where people were locked away from society are now being replaced with the four walls of people’s bedrooms, as they have a lack of opportunities for engagement or support.”

While the show seeks to campaign and provoke, audiences should expect to be entertained by the strong artistic line-up. Illusionist David Munns questions whether the Victorian label of freak persists today; choreographer DJ Hassan spins between joy and loneliness, and Dayo Koleosho asks how easy it is for learning disabled people to live independently.

Meanwhile Imogen Roberts celebrates the ancient Olmec tribe who worshipped those with Down Syndrome as gods, and acclaimed performance poet Cian Binchy imagines himself as London’s oldest baby.

March 13 – 28, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT

shoreditchtownhall.com/whats-on/madhouse

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