Creative Spring Endeavours

02 April 2024

A local company is planning to create a new shadow puppet show. Their business plan says they’ll make a healthy income, but those are just projected figures. :)

Welcome to the April Newsletter! It includes recent events as well as opportunities around the county. As ever, do check out the Cultivate newsletter, as this is also a significant part of Take Art Theatre’s programme. 

‘Arts and Culture Diversity Forum Somerset, photo: Hannah Earl’

Divergent Creativity 

The most recent Arts and Culture Diversity Forum took place on Wednesday 28 February at the Engine Room Bridgwater. Featuring digital, visual arts and theatre-based practice, the event explored the challenges, joys and out of the box thinking behind the creation process for neurodivergent/disabled artists. 

Facilitated by Take Art, Somerset Art Works and Somerset Film, the forum aimed to offer a safe space for everyone to talk honestly, share experiences and best practice, challenge perceptions, and provoke individual and collective action. 

The afternoon was led by three arts practitioners: Stephen Clarke, MJ Gardner and Amy Shiner. 

Stephen Clarke of Biggerhouse Film shared his experience of making new work with neurodivergent creatives. His collaborations include working with Somerset Film on JUMPcuts - making work with, by and for adults with learning differences - and more recently with 104 films, world leaders in disability cinema, to deliver an ongoing creative mentioning programme for Neurodiverse film makers.  

Amy Shiner is a neurodiverse artist and creative facilitator running arts and health projects, her latest being ‘The Eternal Journal’. This project combines Amy’s passion for creative journaling and working in partnership with organisations supporting people with mental health challenges. Creative journaling has been a powerful tool helping Amy connect visually to her thoughts, experiences and emotions and has informed her creative practice. Amy introduced a few creative exercises to give everyone a chance to explore this simple but effective way to express our own creativity.  

MJ Gardner is a Creative Producer and Lead Artist of Autopia, a project working with fellow neurodiverse and disabled adults to provide interactive workshops/social spaces and theatrical storytelling. MJ has previously been a Freelance Disability Consultant for Royal Shakespeare Company and part of stage management teams at National Theatre Wales and National Theatre Scotland. They offered a very honest and insightful overview of their career development and working practices ranging from access support riders to sharing the joy of creativity. 

"Great to meet you on Wednesday and to be part of the Diversity Forum! It was a very interesting and inspiring event and it was really great to be part of it and to meet lots of fellow neurodiverse creative people. It certainly made me feel less alone and not the only one dealing with a brain that works in a different way!"

News from Angel Exit… Wake Up, Warm Up (WuWu) 

Angel Exit Theatre is inviting professional actors and directors based in Dorset and Somerset to come together for brief weekly sessions on zoom, first thing on a Monday morning. The aim is to do a simple vocal and physical warm up together at the start of the week. Just 30 minutes and all for free. No commitment. We will hold the space for the first few sessions then we will ask for other artists to take up the baton and run sessions too. A chance to connect, energize, warm up the physical and vocal muscles and keep ourselves ready to work; a simple continuous training.  

After the 30 mins, we'll have 15 mins to check in, share opportunities, promote work etc until the Zoom runs out. The sessions will probably run from 9-9.30 every Monday morning (tbc) with Zoom links sent out via a WhatsApp group.  

Anyone who is interested to find out more or be added to the list please contact 

A message from Selina, Somerset Youth Theatre..

Hi everybody. Selina here from Somerset Youth Theatre cic. Are you stuck playing the same ole Drama games and team building exercises when teaching, delivering workshops or running rehearsals? Do you want to freshen up your practice and fancy a day of belly laughs and fun? 

Then join us at SYT's Drama Games Swapsies Day! 😉 A day for teachers, facilitators, artists, youth workers, LSA’s, community groups, students and anybody who believes in the power of fun and creativity to change lives. Share games, build confidence & understand the value of play when working with children & young people. There will be biscuits, too!  

Bridgwater ReCreation Hub, Rhose Lane, TA66HZ. Saturday 11th May, 10:30 - 2:30pm 

Cost: £25 (bursaries available) - Bring a game and get 20% discount. 

No experience necessary. Comfy clothes a must. 

Image: Len Copland

Artists’ Support Resources 

As previously mentioned, we’ve joined forces with several other companies and organisations in Somerset to produce a guide for performing artists and freelance creatives in the county to know who they can go to for different types of support, for example: who can offer advice on funding applications or who might have rehearsal space available?  

We met in early February to explore our collective offer in more detail and will be meeting again in April for further planning. 

This resource is available to download from the artist support on our website here.

Next Newsletter 

As you’ve seen above, we can occasionally promote other events and opportunities. So, if you have something that you’d like to be included in the next mail-out (which will cover June and July 24) please fill in this link with full details by 17 May 2024.

All good wishes


Mark and Ruth 

Take Art Theatre team