"As a deaf-blind person, I loved feeling all the vibrations. I normally can't engage with performances but felt like I could enjoy this one with everyone else despite not being able to see it all". Workshop and performance participant, Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones, at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
"Observing the filming days in the Conservatory at the Barbican and seeing how Nicole worked with Bim Ajadi and the film crew, it was clear that the success of the piece was rooted in the shared respect and willingness to learn from one another and truly collaborate. The blending of languages, working with interpreters between spoken English and BSL, with elements of Semaphore in the choreography, also benefited the process, lending itself to shared learning and deeper understanding. It's been a pleasure supporting Nicole throughout the Open Lab programme and we look forward to seeing how her practice continues to develop". Anna Dominian, Assistant Producer, Barbican Centre.
Surface Area Dance Theatre in collaboration with artists, participants, and academics, aims to develop an original dance language that champions diversity and innovation. Over the last fifteen years the company has accomplished an extensive portfolio of engagements, delivered in partnership with patrons, charitable and cultural organisations, and institutes such as Barbican’s Open Lab in London, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens and the Ise Folk Dance Society in Japan.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) support the range and breadth of our work. They encourage us to be open to other cultures, to challenge our assumptions, biases and prejudices. They are essential for deep, trusting, mutually beneficial relationships. We want everyone coming into contact with us to feel respected and treated with dignity. We want alignment between what we say and what we do. We will seek to nurture a sense of belonging for those we employ and encourage an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves at work. Surface Area Dance Theatre is recognised by the Department of Work and Pensions as a Disability Leader and champion for Disability Confidence within our local and business communities. We believe therefore that it is important to value everyone and to be empathetic, fair, respectful and inclusive. This holds for employees, participants in, or contributors to our work, irrespective of background, characteristics or attributes.
“In the post-performance discussion I was really interested when Tom White, the musician, spoke about their experience, how it had been a challenge to their practice as they had never worked with a Deaf choreographer before. How they had to explore ways to make cues work for both hearing and Deaf dancers, how they mixed live sound throughout the performance to take cues from the dancers, and how they experimented with low frequency sound so that within the space it was not only heard, but could also be felt. This for me exemplifies one of the powers of Disability Arts; and the challenge to artists to learn to create in ways that are new to them to allow accessibility and how this pushes their artistry”, Review of ‘Hand in Hand’ by Lisette Auton, Disability Arts Online.
Our resources are maintained to enable and support continued discourse with the D/deaf and hearing community via communication channels in English and British Sign Language. Investigation, curiosity and partnerships are key to Surface Area’s approach, supported by diverse cultural interests and open dialogue with collaborators across the world.