" Empathy is ....
seeing with the eyes of another,
listening with the ears of another
feeling with the heart of another."
"Before you start to judge me,
step into my shoes
walk the life I'm living
if you get as far as I have,
you will see
how strong I really am"
‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’
1 in 100 people in the U.K. are diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum. That's 6,000 people in Sheffield. Let's suppose they each have 5 close family members - that's at least 30,000 people in Sheffield who live with, or side-by-side with, this condition.
So - what is it? How does it affect those on the Spectrum? And what questions does it ask of so-called 'normal' people - whatever that means?!
We devised the play from scratch over a period of weeks and have modified it in response to the reactions and comments we’ve had. It started as a play about autism and has become as much a play about difference and how we all cope with that.
We used material from websites associated with autism to add to the experiences and ideas of the group members themselves.
It starts with language, then moves on to the senses, to anxiety and the problems it creates. We look at how the brain affects patterns of behaviour and then how this influences life in school. Then it’s labels and diagnoses before our final thoughts about taking time to see things as others see them - In Someone Else’s Shoes.
This first piece of theatre is our aims in action. Although we will create theatre not specifically about autism, this 45 minute piece has become our ‘signature’ production. It’s a show designed to travel. We can perform it almost anywhere.
In Spring, 2018, whilst continuing to tour ‘Shoes’, as the group and its resources continue to grow & mature, we will develop more productions and activities. Our intention is to start work on two new plays about Autism, one about women on the spectrum, the other about the experience of parents of children with the condition. Click on "Future" above to see our latest status.
If you’re interested, please join our mailing list below.
Park Academy, October 19th 2017
We were commisioned jointly by the Springs & Park Academies to perform to an audience drawn from most teaching staff from both sites.
University Drama Studio, July 10th 2017
We were invited by Sheffield University Medical School to perform to an audience drawn from students and staff in the faculty and from the wider university. The performance was followed by a discussion.
In November this year, a small group of 3rd year medical students will be working with us as part of their 'social accountability' unit, researching aspects of the autistic experience to inform Spectrum's devising of another play in Spring 2018.
Live Performance at the Library Theatre, March 29th 2017
WE SOLD OUT! The audience reaction to the play was great. Here's a sample of their comments:
" What an absolutely outstanding piece. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, from the stories, to the cast, to the symbolism and examples, a very moving and inspirational performance. "
" It was such a fabulous play and great to do the Q&A afterwards. So, so glad I came."
" I was unsure how an adult with Asperger's Syndrome would feel about it, but they loved it! "
" The question and answer session was really interesting - at times moving - and certainly confirmed the audience's reaction to the play."
School Performances in 2017
In March 2017, we performed to a total of 360 Year 10 & 11 students in both High Storrs and King Edwards Secondary Schools.
Here are some of the students comments.
" It shows that being different is great and that we shouldn't be defined by the labels given to us. You really can put yourself in other people's shoes."
" The play really opened my eyes. "
" What fabulous performances... just brilliant and powerful. Loved it!! " (Eileen Hetherington, Head of PHSE, High Storrs School)
" ... it is difficult to grasp the concept of autism and its effects, so to have people who themselves are on the spectrum spell it all out for us was a privilege."
Comments from our first two audiences at the Merlin Theatre and High Storrs School (in 2016)
" Accomplished and moving, it gives us a sensitive understanding of the autistic spectrum ... ""
" The personal testimonials give particular insight into the condition. "
" Fantastic! ... it should go into every secondary school in Sheffield."
" I knew very little about autism, but after this, I know a lot more. "
" ... very emotional. It really made you feel you were in someone else's shoes! "
" Brilliant, just brilliant! "
" It was really powerful having people with autism in it. "
" The balance between serious and funny scenes was very good. "
" It was brilliant. It really showed people what it is like to have autism in a way they can understand. "
" It had a refreshing honesty. "
" The cast is so diverse, with first-hand experience that gives an authenticity that cannot be gleaned from websites, or articles ... that said, the professionalism of the company was exemplary. " (Carl Jeffrey, Emma Hoey, High Storrs Performance Arts Dept.)
" I would recommend Spectrum Theatre to schools. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the piece ... (and) created their own work as a direct response to the play. " (Claire Pender, Asst. Head, High Storrs School)