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Blog by Tim Webb: Adventures in Russia

4 August 2016

Viktoria Arkadina of the Moscow-based deaf-blind Support Fund So-Edinenie contacted Oily Cart via the Upfront Performance Network run by Ellie Griffiths, director of our forthcoming production for young people with complex disabilities, MIRROR MIRROR. Viktoria aims to create a form of multi-sensory theatre in Russia and thought the Cart could help.

We invited her to come to the first preview of MIRROR MIRROR and it must have gone well because immediately afterwards I was invited to So-Edinenie’s annual conference in Moscow.

18th to 20th May

Once in Russia I led a couple of workshops based on Oily Cart’s multi-sensory interactive form of theatre and met the amazing members of a deaf-blind performance company for which Viktoria acts as producer. All of the events at the conference featured awesome feats of simultaneous translation with communication to and fro using tactile and other sign languages together with Russian, French and English.

20th to 24th June

Before leaving Moscow I had already agreed to join So-Edinenie in the Black Sea resort of Gelendzhik where there was a summer school for deaf-blind children, their families and the teachers and psychologists who work with them. Working together we built a multi-sensory trail that started in a Mediterranean-style garden, filled with fruit trees, conifers, oaks and herbs, before plunging into the cool, damp of tunnel full of echoes that led us onto the heat and brightness of a sunlit pebble beach with its lapping water, seaweed smells and a meeting with Neptune himself emerging dripping from the water. The children and families had wonderful times on the trail where they discovered delights for each and every one of the senses.

In Gelendzhik I was privileged to meet this man Professor Alexander Suvorov, who is himself deaf-blind. He is Leading Research Associate at the Moscow Univeristy Psychological and Pedagogical University.

Now we are making plans for more workshops in Russia that we hope will lead to a co-production involving Oily Cart and So-Edinenie sometime in 2018.