The Missing Piece 

Lead researcher: Claire Hodgson
Performer: Pete Edwards. Creative enabler: Michael Achtmann.
Technical support: Gary McFarlane

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The Missing Piece

Since February 2003 London Metropolitan University has hosted and jointly delivered The Missing Piece with Graeae Theatre Company. The Missing Piece is a year long training course for aspiring performers with physical and sensory impairments. We are currently in the second cycle of delivery. The Missing Piece has been a journey for all involved. This paper aims to reflect on that journey and on the contribution Graeae is making to the wider theatrical community. It is intended as a provocation and a starting point for discussion. The Disability Discrimination Act means that all Performing Arts, Drama and Dance training and education in the U.K will have to make 'reasonable adjustments'. The paper is written from the perspective of an academic who is involved in delivering a degree programme and who also teaches on the Missing Piece programme.

I hope to examine the following:

  • What artistic adjustments are required when delivering a Performing Arts course to adults with disabilities?
  • How have these new artistic practices impacted on the degree programme?
  • How does an academic department work effectively with a professional theatre company?
  • What is 'inclusive practice' and how might it be disseminated to theatre practitioners?
  • Are there any similarities to previous work undertaken by Feminist, Lesbian and Gay, and Black and Asian companies?
  • How has performance work with Missing Piece students informed my performance as research?
  • How has working on the Missing Piece challenged my notions of what performance is?



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