Tag Archives: bradley hemmings

2012…a year like no other

2012 has been a phenomenal year for Graeae. It has seen us take to the global stage for the first time and present varied and diverse artistic and education programmes. We have also had the opportunity to work with so many different people, and we asked some of them to share their Graeae highlight of the year.

The cast of Sequins and Snowballs at the Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre

The cast of Sequins and Snowballs at the Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre. Image Alison Baskerville

My Graeae highlight of the year was definitely the standing ovation for ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ at the QEH performance of Reasons to be Cheerful (RTBC) as part of Unlimited, when a member of the audience raised his crutch in a symbol of solidarity. Brilliant!’ Danny Braverman, Practitioner

The cast of RTBC perform 'Spasticus Autisticus' at Hackney Empire

The cast of RTBC perform ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ at Hackney Empire. Image Alison Baskerville

‘My greatest memory ever, was performing on the sway poles in front of thousands and thousands of people in the spectacular Paralympic Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. It was really hard work to tone my body up but it was a worthwhile experience. Hats off and big hand wave to Jenny and Bradley who did a brilliant job!!’ David Ellington, Performer

Milton Lopes and David Ellington in The Garden ar Southbank Centre on 5 metre high sway poles

Milton Lopes and David Ellington in The Garden. Image Alison Baskerville

‘I am about to come to the end of my term as a member of Graeae’s board, so inevitably I have been doing a bit of reflecting. Over the past seven years I have had the privilege to work with four excellent chairmen/women and many inspiring colleagues, to experience lots of fab work and to see the company settle into its wonderful home in Kingsland Road. What an extraordinary company Graeae is and 2012 has been a really amazing year, in which the company pushed itself to great heights – often literally. I can’t think of another company that could pull off a national tour of an in-yer-face musical theatre production, an intimate and lyrical outdoor show, an epic collaboration with one of Europe’s most famously anarchic troupes, and the Rhinestone Rollers seeing the year out in style – all of which drew large, appreciative and diverse audiences. And then to have its artistic director co-direct a spectacularly successful event on the world stage – the scale, skills, richness and wit of which could not even have been dreamt of seven years ago – I am not sure how you top that, but I know Graeae will try. Jenny, Judith and all who travel with Graeae, I salute you – may 2013 be as full of wonder and sweet airs as 2012 has been.’ Jodi Myers, Board Member

‘As for my moment of the year with Graeae, it has to be at the Southbank with RTBC. We have often heard the saying ‘showstopper’ but the reaction to the company’s version of ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ was like nothing I have ever experienced in my 35 years of working in and attending the theatre. The show literally stopped.  The applause, the roar of the crowd, the energy could have blown the roof off.  It was a once in a lifetime experience.  People giving a standing ovation during the show.  I will always remember the feeling, the atmosphere and the celebration of life that thronged around that theatre when a showstopper stopped the show. Oi oi!!’ Christopher Holt, Vocal Coach

‘In March this year there were two nights where Ms Sealey gave a presentation at the Southbank as part of the Phenomenal People project. It was a wonderful presentation and a very personal one from Jenny talking about how Caroline Parker inspires her. She told the history of how these two strong and determined women met and how their relationship has grown and developed over the years. It was a powerful presentation but the night Caro was there and the two of them got up on stage together to sign ‘I will survive’ completely spontaneously was not only fabulous to watch but very moving. A moment which is rare and wonderful and which I consider to have been privileged to witness. Vikki Gee-Dare, SLI

‘When asked to think about my most memorable moment for Graeae in 2012 I found it impossible to pick just one. What a landmark year for this amazing company. A giant puppet and 70 volunteers in Prometheus Awakes at the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival – jaw dropping! Mesmerised by the sway poles in The Garden at the Southbank and singing along to ‘Spasticus Autistics’ performed by the cast and band of Reasons to be Cheerful at the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. That is just three memories of thousands of unforgettable moments, come on 2013 we are ready for you. Oi Oi!’ Angie Klein, Marketing and PR Consultant

‘My Graeae highlight was seeing the work Graeae had been developing with Circus Space over the last couple of years evolve into such a huge part of the Paralympic Opening ceremony. From a filmmakers perspective I have seen the beginning of that development and it has been wonderful to see it flourish from the sidelines into something momentous. Biggest regret: Missing Prometheus Awakes!’ Ted Evans, Filmmaker – Director

Graeae Theatre Company and La Fura dels Baus. "Prometheus Awakes".

The finale of Prometheus Awakes. Image Patrick Baldwin


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Filed under 2012, Prometheus Awakes, Reasons to be Cheerful, The Garden

Enlightenment is one day away…

We’re almost there.
It’s the day before the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Yikes!

Graeae’s Building and Facilities Manager Kevin walked into the office this morning and summed up how we, and most of the nation, are feeling: ‘One day to go! Very exciting!’

We’re all on the edge of our seats, eager, rubbing our hands in anticipation.

We know that both Jenny Sealey (Graeae) and Bradley Hemmings (GDIF) will do everyone proud. They are two artistic, instinctive, brilliant people working together to create a Paralympic Opening Ceremony the likes of which has never been seen before. I say never before because we truly are in the ‘home games’ territory now. The Paralympics return to Great Britain for the first time since its inception as the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948.

So what two people better to show the world how dynamic disabled- led art is? From years of working with Jenny I think we can expect to see a celebration and also a declaration – that disabled people can do anything and push beyond the ‘limits’ of perception. Welcome one and all to the aptly entitled ‘Enlightenment’.

The way Jenny creates her work is incredibly refreshing, and can (re)ignite a person’s passion for making art. It’s a constant cycle with artists where they are in and out of love with what they do. Jenny guides people back to finding that love again. There will also be a little bit of ‘I wish I had thought of that…’ as I find myself constantly doing when working with Jenny.

Jenny Sealey at Graeae's Bradbury Studios

Jenny Sealey at Bradbury Studios

Crucially, Jenny’s influence and determination to find the most creative, most public and most direct way of placing disabled artists and access centre stage cannot be underestimated. It really can’t.

For me, the key thing is to celebrate the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and not get bogged down in comparing with anything that has gone before. This will be a unique event, a statement to anyone watching that this is how you can, nay, should work with artists, disabled or non-disabled. Jenny has been working this way for ages. Let’s hope that the world finally catches up.

Good luck Jenny, Bradley and everyone who is involved tomorrow. Enjoy yourselves and see you on the other side.

– Amit Sharma

Associate Director


Filed under 2012, Amit Sharma