The world’s only large-scale ensemble of professional disabled musicians, who have played alongside Coldplay and at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics, are coming to the North West with their latest piece, The Nature of Why – in an all inclusive event for people with disabilities.
Playfully fusing contemporary dance with a cinematic live-score by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, The Nature of Why smashes the divide between musicians, dancers and the audience, in a performance bursting with passion and joyous intensity.
The audience will become immersed into a theatrical experience like no other as the stage becomes a site of discovery, inviting audiences to seek out their own unique encounters amongst the performers.
In a first for the Empress Ballroom there will be a pre-performance touch tour for blind and partially sighted people, there will also be Audio Description via headsets and British Sign Language interpretation throughout the performance.
The event is one of a series of events thanks to the Access Fylde Coast project, which began in January 2019 with the aim of helping Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to become an accessible visitor destination for people with all disabilities by giving businesses free disability awareness training, free access guides. By bringing high-profile disabled performers to the Fylde Coast it also hopes to break down the barriers and misconceptions of disability.
Artistic Director and award-winning British conductor Charles Hazlewood, says: “For its enviable reputation as the historic home of wild and wonderful entertainment, Blackpool will have experienced nothing like The Nature of Why.
“To be performing at the legendary Empress Ballroom is a thrill for everyone involved, our diverse company of musicians and dancers, who the audience will share the performance space with as we dismantle the traditional barrier between audiences and artists.
“In creating this piece, performers of all abilities have been put through their paces, seeing musicians become dancers and dancers joining the band, it’s a project that has helped us all to grow.”
He adds: “Previous performances, from London to Perth, Australia have been so emotionally charged, with the public and performers sharing embraces and kind words as we conclude a remarkable, communal experience of music and movement.
“It will once again be an experience made distinct for every individual in the room with us and, crucially, never to be repeated in exactly the same way ever again.”
The stage will become a site of discovery as this boundary-breaking piece explores theoretical physicist Richard Feynman’s search for the meaning of the world around us and also features a cinematic live-score from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory.
The event is being brought to the Empress Ballroom, thanks to the Access Fylde Coast, a pioneering project which aims to boost tourism in the resort while breaking down the barriers of disability.
It follows the success of ILL-Abilities dance crew, who wowed the crowds ahead of Kylie, with BSL signer Tony at the Lytham Festival earlier this month.
Holly Whittaker, project manager of Access Fylde Coast, says: “We are very excited to be welcoming the Paraorchestra to Blackpool and providing, BSL, pre-performance touch tour and audio description.
“As Lytham Festival proved, where we brought an act with different abilities, had a Mobiloo and Tony from Co-Sign signing every night for every act, making an event as accessible as possible, people rave about it and also perceptions of disability are positively challenged.
“And rightly so, in this day in age we should be making events accessible for everyone, so that everyone no matter whether they have a physical, sensory, mental health or learning disabilities can have an amazing experience and enjoy themselves.”
Carol Kyle, of Co-Sign, which provided the storming success signer Tony Redshaw for Lytham Festival, added: “As the hugely positive response from Lytham Festival showed, having a BSL Interpreter makes such a difference to the experience to those in the Deaf community. Improvements have been made in the past few years and there is an increase in awareness for the need for BSL to make events fully inclusive, but there is still a long way to go.
“So, we are pleased to be working in partnership with Access Fylde Coast to continue to enhance accessibility at events across the Fylde Coast.”
Michael Williams, Managing Director. Winter Gardens Blackpool, says: “We’re delighted to welcome The Nature of Why to the Empress Ballroom this September. A truly unique event which is set to showcase Blackpool and the Empress Ballroom through the incredible work being undertaken by Access Fylde Coast, promoting the strengths of Blackpool as a destination for all.
‘The event is set to provide an unforgettable evening of entertainment, from the diverse and world renowned British Paraorchestra that can be enjoyed by all’
The British Paraorchestra is at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool on September 7, 2019, with performances at 3pm and 7.30pm.
Due to the nature of the one- hour performance, seating is limited.
Tickets are available through www.accessfyldecoast.org/events
The Access Fylde Coast project is spearheaded by Blackpool charity Disability First and was made possible thanks to a cash injection of £985,522 from the Coastal Communities Fund, as part of a Government initiative to invest £250 million in our much-loved seaside resorts.