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Using lockdown to reflect on Mind the Gap’s growth

As with most organisations around the world, the pandemic has raised a lot of challenges for Mind the Gap but it has also offered us some exciting opportunities.

Rob Abbey wearing a rain jacket stood in a field by some ruins

As with most organisations around the world, the pandemic has raised a lot of challenges for Mind the Gap but it has also offered us some exciting opportunities. In March 2020, as work moved online and our usual rehearsal and touring schedule was put on hold, we realised that the situation allowed us some time to reflect, and act on, some of the fundamentals of Mind the Gap as an organisation.

In my role as Audience Development Officer, this meant reflecting on how the company has changed since I landed a temporary contract with Mind the Gap back in 2012 … and never left!

During that time, I have been privileged to watch, and be involved in, the company’s growth. From a relatively small touring theatre company with a training course for around 30 people with learning disabilities and autism in 2012 to a more diverse company; a company that showcases and champions the work, and stories, of learning-disabled individuals and artists across many different artistic outputs.

Mind the Gap’s performances have shifted their focus from the retelling of classic texts to new, devised work with relevance and lived experience of the people we work with. The training programme that existed in 2012 has tripled in size to become our Academy – one of the country’s largest centres of performance training, and skills development for people with learning disabilities and autism. The company has also become widely recognised for its role in sector leadership and development; through programmes such as Staging Change, Engage and Future Me, Mind the Gap continues to demonstrate its knowledge and expertise in access to the arts sector for people with learning disabilities and autism – as audiences, performers and artists.

Taking these shifts in the breadth and range of the company’s work into consideration, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past few months thinking about how we can best reflect the company’s growth, changes, and general fabulousness to the outside world. I think we all understand that a company’s website is an important tool in this, and that our current site is out of date and needs a shake up! To that extent, we’re pleased to be working with the Huddersfield based digital agency Splitpixel to refresh our website and digital presence as well as to progress Mind the Gap’s brand.

This has been made possible thanks to the incredible support we have received from Arts Council England’s Emergency Recovery Fund and the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

Expect to hear more about our new website and other developments in the coming months – we have plans to shout about us all as individuals, as a team, and as a respected organisation – not just because we can but because we need to!

Blog by Rob Abbey, Audience Development Officer at Mind the Gap

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