This project engages with individuals aged 14+ with a physical and/ or learning disability and their families to create a series of storytelling performances using music and movement.
Working with participants, Manasamitra, a Dewsbury based arts organisation, firstly collect stories of interest to those taking part and then run workshops that will engage them with the story through spoken word and simple dance movements and music.
The project was launched in 2012 and has continued every year since offering new opportunities each time for people to get involved with.
The first phase of the project involved two launch events in early 2012 in Huddersfield and Dewsbury. Attendees were invited to try out activities and hear from Supriya Nagarajan, Manasamitra artistic director, about the benefits that getting involved with creative activities can bring.
The second phase of the project – which continues today – involves Manasamitra delivering 40 creative workshops each year. The workshops showcase visual art, dance and musical activities and participants use these art genres to devise their own storytelling productions.
Supriya Nagarajan, Manasamitra’s artistic director said, “This project aims to bring together the unique approaches used within the arts, sports, leisure and the cultural sector to develop fun creative activities for people using healthcare services. It’s a brilliant opportunity for people to experience the benefits of getting involved in creative activities. Feedback has shown it was thoroughly enjoyed by all and participants have demonstrated a more positive approach to life after sessions and the physical activities have improved their fitness levels.”
The project provides a number of benefits to participants including social inclusivity and cohesion, development of physical skills and improvement in coordination, communication tools for families and carers that can be reused and an increase in self-confidence and self-esteem.