HE AIN'T HEAVY IS A NEW SHOW BY ODDLY MOVING. GRANIA PICKARD TELLS THE STORY OF GROWING UP WITH HER DISABLED AUTISTIC BROTHER "SEAN". IT IS AVAILABLE TO TOUR IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 2017.
When people ask me about my brother I usually give them the short answer; he has severe learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism. He Ain't Heavy is the long answer. As Sean cannot go on a national tour due to a love of routine and no concept of theatre, we are going to bring him into the room in other ways.
“An incredibly poignant and intimate portrayal of sibling love through puppetry and an aerial swing. You have to see Grania in action: she is a highly skilled circus performer, storyteller and connector, lighting up the entire stage.” LucyLovesCircus
Artistic Director of Oddly Moving
Physical theatre, aerial circus, audience interaction, storytelling and puppetry reveal to the audience how Sean walks, talks and interacts with the world as well as how his unique take on life has shaped me. Throughout the piece we use different elements to introduce the audience to Sean. The stage is dominated by an oversized park swing, the main overlap between Sean’s world and mine; his from walking and pushing swings everyday for 30 years and mine from choosing aerial as a career, possibly influenced by the years I walked to the swings with him.
The show reaches out to other siblings of people with special needs and autism and gives an insight into some of my experiences for those who don’t know someone with special needs.
"Grania's work is a full-bodied, eloquent meditation on life with autism that raises awareness, builds bridges with a mainstream audience, and connects us to the beauty of accepting life as it is and loving unreservedly." LucyLoveCircus
Grania is an experienced workshop leader who is qualified to work with people with special needs. During the tour there will be circus, theatre workshops particularly targeting young siblings and carers of people with disabilities who will be contacted via local and national groups and organisations such as SIBS. The workshops will encourage the young people to explore ways to tell their story by focusing on the daily routines that we all have.
Oddly Moving will also target special schools and adapt the workshops to be accessible to children of differing needs.
TURTLE KEY ARTS
Turtle Key Arts first met Grania through her work with Ockham's Razor and have been excited to follow her artistic development and help with the creation process of He Ain't Heavy. In 2015 He Ain't Heavy, supported by Arts Council England, was performed as a scratch performance at Circomedia during the Circus City Festival as part of the event VOLT: Women in Circus. The feedback from industry professionals and the public was extremely positive.
"I loved the implicit trust in the audience to join in the narrative, an investment that reaps dividends."
Grania then worked with Ockham's Razor's Artistic Director Charlotte Mooney. "We explored what I was able to do on the equipment, what images we wanted to see. Charlotte suggested a wealth of ideas and guided them through the inevitable devising stickiness until they became something wonderful".
In September 2016 there were a further two preview performances at Trinity Bristol. It will be developed in to a full show in spring/summer 2017 and He Ain't Heavy will be available to tour the UK in October and November 2017.
Performer and created by Grania Pickard
Performer: Sophie Postlethwaite
Director/dramaturg: Jimmy Whiteaker
Aerial Choreography by Charlotte Mooney
Lighting Design: Tom Richmond
Composer: Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres
Documentation Paul Blakemore
Supported by Arts Council England, Ausform, VOLT, The Elmgrant Trust, The Trinity Centre, Circomedia, Hull Truck Theatre, The Point Eastleigh, The Invisible Circus, Yard Arts, Bristol Autism Support, Disability Arts Online.