Breakthrough – Artists

Sam Brewer & Aarian Mehrabani (Sam, a white man with closely shaved blonde hair wears a pink and yellow floral blazer and grasps a very resolute Aarian. Aarian is a Middle Eastern man with slim build, clean shaven with short jet black quiffed hair. He is wearing a yellow jumper and denim dungarees).


For creatives who are ready to break into the mainstream. 

Breakthrough supports two disabled artists who are at the peak of their careers, and facing barriers preventing them breaking into the mainstream, with the goal of creating something small – and high quality.

Artists will receive a £6000 commission to produce a sample of professional quality work. This could be anything from a 5-minute scene from a play, a song, a showreel, a lighting portfolio or a short video – we want to nurture creativity and encourage exceptionalism.

We hope to open applications for Breakthrough 2025 at the end of 2024.

2024 Breakthrough Artists

A portrait photo of visual and performance artist Rachel Gadsden with paint on her face, she stands in
front of a colourful TransHuman artwork.

Rachel Gadsden

My TransHuman themed art performance will be the focus of my Breakthrough Commission. The ambition of the work is ultimately to build foundations for a socially and politically charged arts performance that sits comfortably within both mainstream and disability arts.

My disabilities bring challenges, and current ongoing medical intervention to sustain my life, sometimes
impacts the process of live performance. As a result, I have become adept at creating “live” performances from the safety of my studio, where I broadcast across the World. An incomprehensible concept pre covid, but something that has ultimately added a layered dynamic to my work and aesthetic.

My Breakthrough vision is to create a short film (5-10mins) that encapsulates the ambition of the ‘TransHuman’ vision, where digital animation, ‘live’ art performance, spoken word poetry and composed sound fuse together to serve as a call to action, where TransHuman intersectional voices are heard and embraced through the resonating aesthetic dynamics. Working with sound designer Freddie Meyers, I
began to devise TransHuman, a visual and performance artwork in 2023 with the ambition to create a performance to explore and embrace notions of TransHuman Embodiment. The work considers how chronic illness and disability presents challenges, but also empowers and authorises agency of the body.

Vici is a white woman in her fifties with spiky teal hair, seated in her garden and smiling to camera.

Vici Wreford-Sinnott

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is a disabled theatre and TV writer and director, campaigner and PhD research
student. She has had several national touring theatre commissions and in 2021 she was commissioned
by the BBC to write and direct Hen Night which was one of the first pieces of British broadcast drama by
a disabled women led team. Vici is the founding artistic director of Little Cog which is a North East
based disabled-led production company, working across a range of artforms. She has been a key figure
and thought leader in the Disability Arts Community for almost 30 years.

I am creating a short, professional film with exciting disabled collaborators, showing a body of my
disabled-led work at its best. The film will include a newly written short monologue which I will perform.
A package around the film will support introductions to promote myself in several disability-receptive
mainstream theatre venues with the aim of developing new work and attracting larger-scale

Previous Breakthrough Artists

Adrian Lee Headshot. The image shows a white man holding a guitar. He is wearing a black beanie hat, black shirt and gilet and is smiling. His guitar is a brown natural wood colour with bronze and gold fittings and is slung over his shoulder. His right hand is curled over the strings. Behind him are some small narrow rectangular brightly coloured works of art against a white background.

Adrian Lee


Adrian Lee is a blind composer / performer specialising in music for theatre, TV, and virtual reality including for Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, English Touring Theatre, BBC and Channel 4. In projects with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, RNIB, Paraorchestra and RNS Moves his work has increasingly focused on advancing access for disabled musicians. Hexagram is Adrian’s first solo project!

Jacqui is a black woman with black waist-length twists, She is wearing a green velvet tracksuit. She is sitting in her powered wheelchair and singing into a microphone with her eyes closed.

Miss Jacqui


Jacqui has spent over 15+ years creating, performing, and advocating for change in different industries. Working with Graeae, Oily Cart, Theatre Royal Stratford East, National Youth Theatre, The Poetry Society, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Battersea Arts Centre, Upswing, and More. A wheelchair user herself, Jacqui wants her work to help others engage the world and society differently and inspire others to feel confident in being themselves. Jacqui believes that creativity can be a universal language, she is devoted to exploring poetry, music, songwriting, and of course performing.

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