Leeds Conservatoire and British Youth Music Theatre Explore Inclusivity in New Musical Theatre

By Gemma Cross


Leeds Conservatoire welcomed the opportunity to work on a new musical theatre storytelling project in development by British Youth Music Theatre (BYMT). The protagonist of the show, titled The Steadfast Tin Soldier, is a d/Deaf performer and this will eventually be performed with a company of fully integrated disabled and non-disabled young people.

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Conservatoire students from year one and two BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, plus MA Musical Theatre Company and MA Musical Theatre Creatives participated in the week of development. In order to explore and develop The Steadfast Tin Soldier and how the material could be presented in an authentic, inclusive and relevant way, experienced d/Deaf artists and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters were actively involved.

The creative team included Karen Mettam and Sarah Cox (BSL interpreters), Matthew Hinchcliffe (actor and BSL interpreter), Anthony Underwood (director and writer), Emily Gray (Chief Executive and Creative Director of BYMT) and Matthew Bugg.

Caroline Parker MBE led a participatory workshop that enabled students and staff to become more aware as to how to meet the access needs of Deaf and hearing impaired artists and audience members. This included learning how to begin the process of interpreting a song in sign language.

By Gemma Cross

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