working with communities to change the arts
All our work is created with the communities it will touch in mind. From magnificent community choirs onstage as part of a production, to small bespoke creative projects that pack a punch, community work is never an afterthought.
Let's work together!
We believe in investing time and energy in the communities to which we tour. We want to shine a light on what communities offer the arts, as well as what they need from the arts.
Our work celebrates the enormous talents of those that are often considered solely in terms of what they lack. We create shows in dialogue with communities and bring their creative voices right alongside the performances we present.
Over the next few years, we’re expanding our reach into new communities across the UK. We’ll co-create creative opportunities whilst empowering and upskilling individuals through coaching Unexpected Leaders. We aim to leave behind a network of diverse leaders to advocate for their communities and work alongside their local theatres.
Between 2021-2024, we hope to connect with communities in
Sunderland, Barnsley, Plymouth, Rochdale, Brighton, Bristol, Southampton, Salford, Poole, and London.
If you are, work with or would like to put us in touch with a community group in one of these areas, we’d love to hear from you!
What we can offer you:
Ready for more?
If you like the sound of working with us, click below!
Our friends include:
We are very excited to be working in tandem with our good friends at Cirque Bijou on some seriously funky moves at Camp Bestival this year as we attempt to break the Guinness world record for World’s Largest Disco Dance! The current record stands at 324 disco dancers, so we’d like to invite you and your family to join us when we take on our world record challenge on Saturday 30th July.
Biggerhouse Film have been working with our youth company, Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists since 2019. During the first year, they created stop-motion animation explorations around the company’s show “Till We Win”. In 2020, they produced the company’s first digital piece, “This Town Of Ours”.
“Working with the members of EBYA to create, film and record “This Town Of Ours” was a massive challenge for all of us involved as we had never done anything like it before. The end result is a testament to everyone’s hard work and enthusiasm. It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with EBYA.” – Stephen Clarke, Co-Director
Bristol Old Vic
2016 marked the beginning of our long-term relationship with Bristol Old Vic. We delivered a series of cross departmental workshops to provoke and inspire thinking and action around diversity in the venue. Sessions included work around casting diversification, welcoming D/deaf and visually impaired visitors for Front of House staff, integrated practice for the outreach department and discussions around accessibility issues with the building which informed its refurbishment in 2019. Diverse City’s connection with Bristol Old Vic remains strong as we are one of the venue’s Associate Companies.
Gob Squad is a British-German performing arts collective based in Nottingham and Berlin. In 2018, we flew to Berlin to deliver an intensive day of training for the collective: The Inclusive Rehearsal Room. This included discussions around disability awareness and BSL and Audio Description for performances workshops.
Human is about the small moments that shape us. This new show from Extraordinary Bodies is a poetic record of our time, based on the real life stories of our company and performers, told through circus, music and film.
Intimate, funny and celebratory, Human looks into the heart of birth, love and change.
In 2020, we worked with Knaïve as part of their online festival, ‘Knaïve Theatre presents: A Digital Lyceum’. ‘What Do You See In Me?’ by Extraordinary Bodies, our collaboration with Cirque Bijou, was part of the line up and followed by a post-show discussion on Zoom. Our work with Knaïve also involved our supporting their team in terms of accessibility.
“Working with Diverse City during the inaugural season of our festival was the perfect learning experience. Their advice, resources and incredibly generous attitude towards shared learning enabled us to take our first steps towards being a more accessible company. Their presence, patience and generosity of time meant that our collaboration and learning felt smooth and enjoyable. Their honest and detailed feedback on the process has given us the tools to sustain and grow our commitment to accessibility and to have an ongoing supportive relationship with them is a real privilege to us. Anyone looking to improve the accessibility of their work need look no further, Diverse City are the people to know.” – Sam Redway, Co-Artistic Director
Knowle West Media Centre
Diverse City started working with Knowle West Media Centre in 2020. Our team took part in a series of workshops focused on exploring digital creativity and accessibility with the organisation. Through these explorations, we expanded our digital skillset and continue to do so in developing new shows this year.
“It is always a joy to work with Diverse City and Extraordinary Bodies talented staff and freelancers. It is rare to find an organisation who so whole heartedly approach everything they do with such openness, creativity, imagination and commitment to their vision.” – Martha King, Arts Programme Producer
Based on the real life experiences of Claire Hodgson, Karen Spicer and Jacqui Beckford, this joyful, potent show took on the taboos surrounding menopause. Weaving together BSL, audio description, original music, dance, and theatre, Mid Life told an honest story of different experiences of the same life event to sell out audiences in Bristol and London. Mid Life is currently available for touring.
Created with support from Ferment at Bristol Old Vic.
National Youth Theatre
In 2018, we helped National Youth Theatre launch a new Inclusion Programme designed to make National Youth Theatre more accessible to disabled and neuro diverse young people. Our youth company, Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists delivered training and led creative explorations to feed into the venue’s inclusive practice.
Plymouth Music Zone
In 2018, Plymouth Music Zone came to us with a will to increase in confidence, bravery and awareness when working with diverse groups. We delivered a full day of training focusing on the following: awareness of best practice and the social model of disability, less well discussed aspects of diversity (socio-economic status and class, BAME and LGBTQI+), conscious and unconscious bias, inclusive and accessible marketing and managing relationships with partners, stakeholders, participants and their families.
Ramps On The Moon
We delivered 15 training sessions over the course of a year for Ramps On The Moon, a collaborative network led by New Wolsey Theatre, bringing together The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Graeae Theatre. The training led by Diverse City training focused on best practice to work inclusively with D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled young people.
Rising Arts Agency
In 2019, we were contracted by Rising Arts Agency to join the steering group for their new radical leadership programme, BE IT. BE IT focuses on nurturing and empowering existing unrecognised young leaders in the city of Bristol. As part of the project, Diverse City is delivering personal leadership development and reverse mentoring support with a particular focus on inclusivity.
South West Theatre Symposium
State Of The Nation 1 and 2 with Bristol City Council
Diverse City and Bristol City Council collaborated on two large scale events aimed at bringing positive change to the arts: State Of The Nation 1 in 2016 and State Of The Nation 2 in 2018. We brought together the learnings and ambitions that came out of the first event into the Doing Things Differently Manifesto, a collection of steps and guidance to make the arts more diverse and inclusive. During the follow up event in 2018, over a hundred people from around 50 organisations revisited the manifesto, shared triumphs and challenges, reflected on the changes that we implemented since 2016 and reinvigorated conversations.
The Elephant Man by Lee Lyford
We co-produced director Lee Lyford’s take on The Elephant Man with Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Diverse City’s Joint Artistic Director, Jamie Beddard, played the main character of Joseph Merrick and the company supported learning around improved access for artists and audiences.
Theatre Royal Plymouth
In 2016-2017, Diverse City worked with Theatre Royal Plymouth as Agents For Change. We provided practical steps and advice around diversifying recruitment and community engagement. We delivered sessions for Senior Management, Board members and staff throughout the organisation to provoke new thinking around how under-represented communities might be engaged and recruited. We created meaningful connections between Theatre Royal Plymouth with our networks of organisations who were on the same journey to increase diversity.
Unlimited Impact with Unlimited
Photo credits from top to bottom of page: © Joe Clarke / Left © Paul Blakemore, Right © Paul Blakemore
/ Left © Christopher Cardwell, Right © Billy Alwen / Left © Chelsey Cliff, Right © Dom Moore