Incubate: the next generation of deaf and disabled-led arts organisations

Incubate is a project taking four deaf and/or disabled-led arts organisations through a year of engaged workshops, supporting those arts organisations to grow, change, and develop. For CRIPtic as facilitator, we’re learning the same.

In disability arts, we are standing (wheeling?) on the shoulders of giants. Graeae have been making deaf and disabled-led theatre for forty years. Extant is a performing arts company of visually impaired artists and theatre practitioners which has existed for 25 years. Deafinitely Theatre has 20 years of work produced bilingually, in British Sign Language and spoken English. Drake Music have been creating music by deaf and disabled people since the mid-1980s.

As the world changes, so do the arts – and new organisations grow up in this supportive ecosystem. CRIPtic Arts wouldn’t be what it is without support from other organisations. We owe a lot especially to Graeae, and Spread the Word – a literature organisation focused on marginalised writers.

These organisations are springing up everywhere – which is delightful to see – whether it’s the slightly older Deaf Rave, or newer organisations like Clumsy Bodies, Radical Body Network, or Quiplash.

What is Incubate?

At CRIPtic, we are growing and developing the deaf and disabled-led artistic ecosystem. One of the ways we’re doing that is by putting our learning into that next generation. We created a small peer-support group – called Incubate – featuring four people (plus Jamie!). Our group is committed to building our own and each other’s deaf and disabled-led arts organisations.

We are working through everything CRIPtic had to learn as we began. While CRIPtic is facilitating it, there are no ‘experts’ and we’re all just learning from each other. At the same time, as a group, we are actively building (our own and each other’s) deaf and disabled-led arts organisations. We want to create a network of support, growth, and encouragement. If this year’s ‘pilot’ is successful, we plan to do many more of these sessions.

Who is on the programme?

We are very excited to announce the artists and organisations who are on this year’s Incubate programme:

Sam Brewer: Flawbored

A headshot of Sam Brewer, a white man with blue eyes, short blonde hair and beard. Sam looks softly into the camera. He is wearing a blue t-shirt.
Image description: A headshot of Sam Brewer, a white man with blue eyes, short blonde hair and beard. Sam looks softly into the camera. He is wearing a blue t-shirt.

Sam is an access consultant, facilitator, actor & theatre maker who graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama’s BA Acting CDT at Central in 2020. Since graduating he has heavily involved himself in disability related activism and was the director of The Diversity School Initiative. He is also an ambassador for the Disability Artist Network Collective. He runs workshops on access tools in the rehearsal room – skill building for practitioners on making their methodologies more accessible. These workshops are designed to be active, engaging and cheeky. Self describing the way he works as “take the work seriously, don’t take yourself seriously.” He co – founded Flawbored in 2021.

FlawBored is a disability-led theatre company that creates ensemble based work. We formed out of a need to reinvigorate the way access is considered both within shows and within the rehearsal room, believing that it should be thought about from the beginning of the process not added on as an afterthought. We work through play and access is at the core of everything we do; it’s in the way we train our practitioners, the way we devise and therefore it is integrated into the show. We also create unique opportunities for artists and practitioners to reframe the way they think about access. A FlawBored show is cheeky, chaotic and most importantly is not disability ‘trauma-porn’ or ‘pity-porn.’ Our ethos is built by our motto ‘Access is easy if you care’

Miss Jacqui

Image Description: A photo of Miss Jacqui performing on stage. Miss Jacqui is a Black woman with long black twists, wearing a green jacket and matching green trousers. She is singing into a microphone with her eyes closed.

Miss Jacqui is a Poet and Songwriter. Her work focuses on challenging societal perceptions, like what it actually means to be a black woman with a disability.

Miss Jacqui has performed at the 2012 Paralympic Team Welcoming Ceremonies, Theatre Royal Stratford East, National Youth Theatre, Southbank Centre, and Roundhouse.

Miss Jacqui is a brand that cares about the disability arts community and the creative arts community. I want to work with organisations to make the industry more inclusive and representative of society as a whole.

My mission is to help the creative arts industry to be more accessible, to contribute creatively and to offer support to companies/organisations to become more inclusive.

My aims are to be a positive change for the creative arts industry, to empower individuals to have confidence in talking about access and inclusion and to help shape the future of the industry.

Tzipporah Johnston: Neuk Collective

Image description: Artist Tzipporah Johnston standing in a garden, holding a large embroidered moth in a case.
Image description: Artist Tzipporah Johnston standing in a garden, holding a large embroidered moth in a case.

Tzipporah Johnston is an embroiderer and installation artist based in Edinburgh. Much of her work explores her autistic special interests, such as her fascination with the natural world, and aims to present an autistic perspective that doesn’t emphasise distress or disorder.

She is also the founder of Neuk Collective, with the aim of supporting neurodivergent creatives in Scotland through advocacy, education, and community-building. In 2021 Neuk Collective published the Neuk Manifesto, a ten-point plan for a more inclusive art scene, along with a practical guide to supporting neurodivergent artists in the workplace.

Lilac Yosiphon

Lilac Yosiphon is a theatre director and writer.

She is endorsed by Arts Council England as a promising Exceptional Talent in the UK. One of the finalists for the JMK Award 2019, she is currently working with Graeae as a Trainee Director.

Directing credits include Heroes (Work in progress, VAULT Festival 2020, nominated for an Origins Award for New Work), The Glass Will Shatter (Omnibus Theatre & UK Tour), Home Sweet Home (Stratford Circus, Jackson’s Lane & ARC Stockton), Jericho’s Rose (co-directed with Mike Cole and Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster; Hope Theatre & Theatre Deli Sheffield), One Last Thing (For Now) (Old Red Lion Theatre, nominated for an Off-West-End Award for Best Ensemble).

She was Associate Director on Dyl (Old Red Lion Theatre, dir. Clive Judd), The Playboy of The Western World (Southwark Playhouse, dir. Polina Kalinina) and Assistant Director on The Dark Room (Theatre503, dir. Audrey Sheffield), Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre, dir. Hannah Hauer King) and Armstrong’s War (Finborough Theatre, dir. Jenny Bakst).

In the last two years, she curated InterScratch, showcases of local and international new writing and interdisciplinary collaborations

​She wrote and performed in ​There’s No Place Like (premiered at Brighton Fringe 2015, transferred to the Arts Theatre and was awarded Outstanding Site Specific at San Diego Fringe 2017), Jericho’s Rose (​Here’s the News from over There, The Northern Stage, Edinburgh Fringe 2015) and Faux Amis (Memoire de l’Avenir, Paris). Her short play Asylum won the SES International Playwriting Award in LA and had a rehearsed reading at the Odyssey Theatre.