Core Programme

Open Arts run a weekly programme involving drama, dance, music, writing and visual arts and in addition also produce multiple other stand-alone projects each year to engage more disabled people, including children & young people, in the arts.

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"Open Arts doesn't just make classes accessible. It's genuine access. It's shaped around our disabilities and different needs."

Open Arts loves to bring our groups together and work on large collaborative pieces. Here are some of the projects we’ve worked on over the years.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

This was an ambitious performance with multiple art forms and involving a cast of 40 people, mostly disabled people. There has never been such a production of Shakespeare in Northern Ireland with such varied art forms (drama, dance, choral and gamelan) with the range of disabilities among the performers: physical, sensory, learning disabilities and mental health illness. It was first performed in April 2019, for two successive nights in the MAC Theatre, Belfast.You can watch hightlights of the show in the YouTube video below.
“Open Arts attitude towards inclusion and opening up the arts to everyone is obvious throughout the performance which, to quote Shakespeare, is “full of joy and mirth”, conjuring up the sleepy, dreamlike situation, stirring up fresh ironies (Oberon’s invisibility contrasted with the actor’s own sight problems), and adapting the script and action to take advantage of mobility aids and build them into the production rather than just try and work around them.”
Poster for Midsummer Night's Dream performance MAC Belfast April 2019

The Spellbound Boy

In 2016 we produced an adaptation of Ravel’s Opera L’enfant et les sortilege. With a cast of over 50 of our weekly participants it brought together our Monday Players drama group, Luminous Soul dance, Open Arts Community Choir, gamelan performance group and participants from our creative writing class who recited their own poetry. Our visual art classes also worked on props and costumes for the show. It was first performed in Belvoir Players Theatre, Belfast in November 2016 and again at The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast in March 2017. You can watch the show highlights in the YouTube video below.