Graeae is Britain’s foremost theatre company of people with physical and sensory impairments.
Founded in 1980 by Nabil Shaban and Richard Tomlinson, Graeae has built up a reputation for producing high quality work and is now a respected theatrical voice with audiences, theatre workers, critics, the arts establishment and the disabled community.
Funded by the Arts Council of England, London Arts and the Association of London Government, Graeae tours nationally twice a year and sometimes internationally with imaginative and exciting productions of both classic and newly-commissioned theatre.
Based in Islington, Graeae’s aim is to redress the exclusion of people with physical and sensory impairments from performance and is concerned with genuinely pioneering theatre in both its aesthetic and content.
Their work extends beyond the normal remit of a producing theatre company, including a commitment to training, young peoples’ theatre, outreach and education.
The Board of Management, staff, directors, actors and writers are drawn mainly from a large, often unrecognised, constituency of arts practitioners with physical disabilities and sensory impairments.
Graeae has established a reputation for producing stylish and innovative work, particularly built around the creative use of sign language and audio description on stage.
Their new project is to create the country’s first purpose-built centre for professional disability arts.
The centre will be located within London Metropolitan University’s Holloway Road campus and will contain spaces built to the highest standard of accessibility including a flexible studio theatre; a dedicated rehearsal studio; a training studio; a green room as the social hub of the complex; backstage dressing rooms and toilet facility; office space to house Graeae’s artistic, administrative, training and education teams.
By being able to work under one roof, the company will see improved internal communication, bringing artistic, financial and organisational benefits.