Performing Sensory Immersion

I’m coming to the end of my two years at Sense – it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work on so many projects, but it seems particularly fitting that one of the last ones I’ll be a part of it is such a fascinating, innovative and creative project that brings together so many strands of the vital work that Sense does.

Performing Sensory Immersion, currently in rehearsal at the Academy of Science of Acting and Directing, and culminating in a performance at the amazing Arcola Theatre on Friday 1 August, is something I couldn’t be more proud to be just a small part of.

A woman playing a cello in the Performing Sensory Immersion rehearsals

I was lucky enough to go along this week and observe the creative process which fizzed and sparked out of a (boiling hot!) dance studio – and I came away feeling all kinds of emotions. Proud, inspired, impressed, confused (in the best possible sense), happy……it was just amazing to watch the interaction between the sighted and hearing artists in the room, the way that everyone worked to their own strengths, supported each other and created a solution that gave everyone in the room a voice.

Like all the best creative processes I’ve been lucky enough to observe, it felt like a little bit of magic was happening in the most unlikely of surroundings. Well done to everyone involved for creating such a supportive and enabling atmosphere that it was such a privilege to be a part of.

I had to stop myself from shouting out suggestions when Steph, facilitating the process, asked questions like ‘what sound is red’? and ‘what does burnt orange feel like’! I loved the insights that the artists with sensory impairments brought to the process – and the way it turned my own perceptions of the world upside down, making me question what I take for granted as a sighted/hearing person.

Two women and a man lying on the floor during Performing Sensory Immersion rehearsalsMichelle, one of the artists, spent much of the lunch break patiently explaining to us the different sounds and feelings associated with different colours – something that seemed obvious to her, but that I’d never even thought that I was missing out on! I love how it can sometimes only be the creative process that turns things on its head in that very simple and powerful way – just shows you how important Sense’sarts and wellbeing work is.

It’s been a real joy for me to be a part of Sense over the last two years – it’s changed me for the better, and I’m reminded as I write of something that one of my favourite teachers used to say to me many years ago:  ‘It is nice to be around people who think differently than you. They challenge your ideas and keep you from being complacent’. Definitely something I’ve learned from my time here, and which is such a intrinsic part of the Performing Sensory Immersion project and so much that Sense does.

Kate Timperley is Ambassador Relations Manager for Sense and Sense International

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