Inspired by the Twitter account Humans of Theatre, Mind the Gap presents Humans of MTG – an online campaign celebrating the people we have worked with over the past few years and beyond.
Globally we are all experiencing difficulties and challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, which are shared within the arts community. So here’s to all the amazing freelancers and artists out there who deserve a shout out!
Jean Ng trained at the Jacques Lecoq International School of Theatre in Paris, France, Jean Ng works as a director, actor and teaching artist in Singapore. Most recently, she was the Artistic Director of M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival.
From Singapore to Bradford
2015, Singapore. Our first encounter. Members of Mind the Gap came and held workshops for our students at the Down Syndrome Association.
It was a brief connection, but important revelations and questions were planted in me.
2017, the United Kingdom. I took a train ride alone from London to Bradford.
A quiet, searching journey. I was warmly welcomed into the beautiful MTG home and spent the day visiting their studios and spaces, observing classes, eating with the students and artists, had a long meeting with the office folks understanding the company and exploring future collaborations. I stood outside the building in the cold of February and had a coffee and chat with Joyce. Fresh nourishing air.
I learnt all about what Mind the Gap do, why they do it and how. I found the company to be:
You can find out more about the M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival here…
Tess Farley is a freelance director, writer & dramaturg. She is the current joker of Mind the Gap’s forum theatre production ANNA.
Working with Mind the Gap
I remember Jokering the forum theatre show, Anna, with a mixed audience at a Women’s centre in Huddersfield. On this particular day we had women with lived experience as parents and a real range of people whose job it is to work with parents with Learning Disabilities in the audience. There was a tangible sense of resonance during the first run, where the audience watch the show.
During the forum the room erupted with life as a group of people who really cared about issues they knew first hand came together to explore solutions to those issues.
There’s something about Forum Theatre which lights a fire underneath you, when you can see audiences who bring all kinds of experiences and viewpoints working together to explore and rehearse strategies to overcome complex real-life challenges, in an unusual type of interaction which wouldn’t otherwise have taken place.
It’s the feeling that progress is being made; however small, and however difficult it might be to measure. Whenever I’m facilitating Forum Theatre with Mind The Gap, I’m always grateful to work with such exceptional actors and to be part of such a brilliant Company: to part of something which feels progressive; theatre as a vehicle for action.
There are so many moments in my career which stand out to me as leaving a big impression, which have shaped my practice, but they’re all united by one theme: community.
For me, theatre and the arts is about people connecting, and it’s for absolutely everyone. As someone who grew up encountering many barriers to accessing and subsequently working in the arts, there’s nothing that inspires me more than seeing communities and people who might not typically have access to the arts taking over and using arts spaces, and particularly in witnessing important, often unheard voices and stories being given a platform. I’m also inspired by seeing arts happening in non-traditional spaces, since art is for everyone: it can and should happen everywhere.
I’ve been influenced the most by the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and making work with. Those aren’t always professional artists, but I believe we are all artists: making theatre is about collaborating…and the meaning in life is about our interactions, about being part of something much bigger than ourselves. As a Director, Writer, Joker and Socially engaged artist, these moments remind me that when I’m making work, it’s communities I’m making work with and for. It’s the people I’m lucky to encounter who remind me why I love what I do.
Moira Fuller worked with Mind the Gap in 2011-12 as the Business Development Manager (maternity cover). She is now a Business Coach for subscription box businesses, and founder of the craft subscription box Craftiosity.
Working with Mind the Gap
When I think back to working with Mind the Gap, the most specific occasion that’s firmly lodged in my memory (and body, I can still feel this) was during the rehearsals of Irresistible: Call of the Sirens. We did the first full run through, and the haunting sound of the air raid sirens lifted up and reached out across the studio space, bouncing back and forth, the vibrations resonating throughout us. Utterly magical!
I was incredibly lucky to be working for Earls Court Exhibition Centre in 2004 when Alexander McQueen held a private fashion show there – and quietly was able to watch it while ‘working’ (well, I had the duration of the show off!).
The theatre of his work, and the way he presented it, took my breath away. I was already a big fan, but seeing it in real life brought home to me that a real human being had and shared this much creativity. It was deeply moving.
I launched a creative subscription box for crafters in 2016, Craftiosity, and that’s gone from strength to strength – we design and create a new project each month, so our customers can try lots of different crafts.
In 2018 I started coaching and supporting small businesses with growth, and now specialise in helping people start or grow a subscription box.
Craftiosity – www.craftiosity.co.uk
Subscription Box Development – www.moirafuller.co.uk
Leah Francis worked with Mind the Gap for 18 months, through the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme, as Assistant Director on the company’s national touring production Mia. Leah his now co- founder of theatre collective Speak Woman Speak.
Mind the Gap and Mia
My most unforgettable memory of working with Mind the Gap was when we were researching for Mia and went to the pre natal, and neo natal, wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
We were trying to get sound samples to create a soundscape for the show. One woman let us listen to her baby’s heart beat and it was so precious and special!
Being Assistant Director on Mia gave me some great insight into the industry and I had so much fun doing it as well. There was one instance where the cast insisted that staff members do the dance part of the show where they dance to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” amongst other generic pop songs! It was hilarious and gave us a little insight into what it was like for the performers.
Speak Women Speak
Leah is co- founder of theatre collective Speak Woman Speak, who are currently creating a piece called White Walls about Mental Health and Spirituality, which will be on in May 2021 for Mental Health Awareness week.
Alan has been a collaborator and friend of Mind the Gap for many years. He first worked with the company in 2003 to create the touring theatre production Don Quixote – a collaboration with Northern Stage where Alan was Artistic Director. More recently Alan worked with Mind the Gap as Director of the critically acclaimed CONTAINED (2015 – 2017).
Alan Lyddiard is Artistic Director of The Performance Ensemble – making work with the experience of age – www.theperformanceensemble.com
Charlene Low is the Artistic Director of Sardines Dance Company, who we were lucky to work with as part of the London Cast for ZARA. As well as joining the community cast for the performances, The company also choreographed an awesome pre-show dance piece entitled ‘Don’t Drop the Baby’.
Chris has worked with Mind the Gap in various roles over the past few years. He first worked with the company in 2014 to lead on the Magna Carta on Trial project and later joined the company as Community Engagement Coordinator. Chris now runs his own Spoken Word company called Brave Words.
Find out more about Brave Words here: www.bravewords.co.uk
Emilie is a filmmaker who has worked with Mind the Gap for many years. Her credits for the company include the I’m Me music video, Magna Carta on Trial, My Story project and most recently the pre show films and live editing for ZARA.
Faye is Mind the Gap’s PR Agent who first worked with the company when Mia appeared at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. She has since worked on various projects including our giant co-production with Walk the Plank, ZARA in 2019, which received a huge amount of press and media attention due in no small part to Faye’s invaluable PR skills.
Follow Faye Dawson on Twitter @fayedawsonpr
Jessica May Buxton
Jessica played various roles including Curley’s Wife, Curley and Suzie in the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men by Mike Kenny in 2011.
Find out more about Jessica’s company The Bookworm Players here…
Katie is part of Bradford based Cecil Green Arts and has over thirteen years experience in community and professional art. She worked with Mind the Gap Artists in early 2020 to explore large scale puppetry.
Katy is the founder of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, a nonprofit organisation that partners with communities facing discrimination to spark transformative action through theatre. Katy spent some time working with Mind the Gap back in 2011.
Manuela (or Manu to us) worked with Mind the Gap in 2018 as the London Community Cast Director for our giant co-production with Walk the Plank and Emergency Exit Arts, ZARA.
Maria is one of Mind the Gap’s photographers. She has worked on various projects with the company including the promotional and production photography for Mia and Anna as well as community events such as Celebrate Manningham.
Mike Auger first worked with Mind the Gap as the course leader for the Academy One Day Music course when it was first launched in 2016. He has since worked for the company in a freelance capacity in various roles including working with our Youth Academy and facilitating the Performance Academy theatre sessions.
Find out more about Mike’s company Displace Yourself here…
Miquel Barcelo, an artist and musician from That’s Life, Galway, worked with Mind the Gap in 2014 when the companies joined forces to create the site-sensitive music performance Trickster.
Mok has been a friend and collaborator with the company for almost two decades. Mok is a Hong Kong-based change maker producing festivals, performances and events.
Find out more about the Centre for Community Cultural Development here: www.cccd.hk
Nicola is a writer and was selected to run a series of Play Days with Mind the Gap Artists in early 2020 as part of our R&D year.
Find out about Nicola’s company Highlight Collective here…
Rhiannon Hannon (or Rio to us) worked in the role of Theatre Director for Mind the Gap from 2004 to 2010. She has remained close to the company ever since and worked alongside us on various projects over the past few years.
Rob trained with Mind the Gap in the 2000’s and appeared in some of the company’s most memorable national touring productions including Boo (2009) and Of Mice and Men (2011).
You can view Rob Ewens’ Spotlight profile here…
Follow Rob on Twitter @Rob_Ewens_