Belfast Theatre Company tour new socially distanced play to the homes of young

Replay Theatre Company are touring COCO, a bespoke new play for young audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) to driveways across Northern Ireland.

Belfast-based Replay Theatre Company is among the world leaders in inclusive children’s theatre, with over 30 years of experience in providing high quality arts adventures for younger audiences. COCO is the company’s response to the COVID-19 emergency and underline’s the company’s dedication to ensuring provision of artistic programming to those most at risk of isolation and inability to access the arts during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

COCO is physically distant sensory theatre that will tour to the outside spaces of homes of children and young people with PMLD or complex needs that are deemed high risk and shielding/isolating during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The show, written and performed by Belfast artist Mary McGurk and produced by Replay is a sensory storytelling experience through pre-recorded audio accompanied by visual live performance.

Andrew Stanford, Inclusion Lead Artist at Replay and the director of the show, says, “COCO is a pioneering new format of delivering the high-quality, inclusive experiences, our audiences have come to expect and we are very proud inclusive practice remains at the forefront of innovative thinking within the arts, especially since our young audiences are among the most at-risk members of society and are likely to feel the ongoing impact of social distancing restrictions longer than most.”

Mary McGurk says, “Writing and performing a show during the current pandemic has been such an amazing opportunity. I have loved working with Replay Theatre Company to make the story accessible for our disabled audiences and we hope it will be a magical experience for all.”

Replay Chief Executive Brian Mullan commented, “Responding to the needs of our young audiences is what the Replay team does best. From the freelance artists we work with to our incredibly creative in house talent the company has once again showed that our young disabled audiences deserve the best. I would also like to pay tribute to our wonderful funders who have shown the flexibility and willing to allow the company to put this show together at such short notice.”

The project is funded by Arts Council NI, BBC Children in Need, Halifax Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

COCO tours across Northern Ireland from Monday 3rd to Saturday 22nd August 2020.

Replay Theatre Company has been making theatre adventures for younger audiences since 1988. We make innovative, quality work for everyone under the age of 19: from the tiniest of babies (our youngest audience member so far was 4 days old) to the oldest teenagers, for disabled children and young people, for school groups, for families, for festivals.


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