Download Theatre Director`s Brief Helium Arts invites applications from theatre

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Theatre Director's Brief
Helium Arts invites applications from theatre directors to lead on the development of
an immersive and multi-sensory performance project for toddlers with complex needs
Creating space for family fun & giving a voice to toddlers through play and the arts,
in partnership with the Jack and Jill Foundation.
About the project
Helium is in the process of developing an immersive and multi-sensory theatre
experience for toddlers with severe intellectual and physical developmental delay who
are cared for in the home, which will provide families with new ways of “attuning” to
and bonding with their very young child. This project will be produced in
collaboration with the nurses and families supported by the Jack and Jill Foundation
and will eventually tour to families in their homes across Ireland. This is the first time
that this type of theatre performance will be developed in ROI. This work will be
informed by Tim Webb (Oily Cart, UK), a European leader in creating interactive &
multi-sensory theatre for children w/disabilities as well as Theatre for Early Years.
Tim will act as mentor to the director and support for the team. Helium will also link
with Replay Theatre Company to further develop the work.
The Need Life around toddlers with complex needs can be consumed with the child's
intense physical needs and medical routines that must take priority. As a result,
parent, child, sibling and family bonding can suffer, with little time for normal
relationships to develop, and the important, relaxing benefits of fun and play often
having to take a back seat.
The Solution Helium Arts is developing a new interactive and immersive
performance experience at home, which provides families with respite. Using music,
sound, puppetry, movement and tactile environments, families will experience the
benefits of relaxation, fun, and bonding while being supported in absorbing new
creative and play skills to be used in everyday life in the home. Through giving space
and time for relationships to flourish, toddlers' social and emotional development will
also benefit.
Home visits remove any stress involved with transporting medical equipment,
disrupting medical routines, and trying to be somewhere on time. In general, home
visits ensure that very young children access play opportunities and parents feel
relaxed to enjoy and absorb new ways of 'being' with their very young child. The
interactive performance will also involve siblings and the family as a whole, creating
further opportunities for normality and bonding in the family home.
Outcomes to include happier families; families experience normal family fun; new
play ideas for families; parents more confident in play; children are more relaxed and
Research to quantify outcomes will be led by a research team at the School of
Nursing and Midwifery, TCD
The Future Helium Arts plans to roll-out this project to 50 Jack and Jill families in
three regions around the country by 2018.
Funders Helium Arts are delighted to have the support of The Arts Council, The
Ireland Funds, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in helping to fund
the pilot phase of this project.
Background: This project builds on Helium's past track record since 2008, working
creatively with 400 parents and 400 babies and toddlers throughout a variety of
settings including Early Intervention Teams, Public Health Nurse Teams, etc. Please
see : and Helene Hugel's Blog here:
About Helium Arts - Helium aims to improve the quality of life for children 0-18
years living with chronic illness or at risk of illness in Ireland through award winning
participatory arts programmes which provide joy, dignity, and a sense of normality to
difficult medical situations. Since 2009, over 4,000 children & their families across
10 counties have benefitted from Helium's work which addresses a range of issues
from the mental health of babies to social isolation among chronically ill teens.
Helium is the only national arts & health company dedicated to the needs of these
marginalised children. Charity number 19236. Helium is Governance Code
Job Description
Who can apply?
We are seeking applicants who are genuinely committed to an exploratory theatre
making process which is responsive to the vision of Helium Arts and the ideas of
project collaborators whether that be the creative team, parents, children, nurses etc,
while having the ability to deliver a piece of quality artistic work.
Necessary experience
Applicants are expected to be able to show the following:
Strong track record of working collaboratively with children
Proven track record in working as part of a team
A theatre practice which is visual, physical, and cross art-form
Experience of working in Arts and Early Years
Ability to deliver quality artistic work
Awareness of the sensitivities of the context
Experience of working cross sector (for example in arts and health, arts and
disability, arts and early years etc)
Interest in developing your own practice within arts and health
Awareness of and interest in Helium’s previous projects, particularly the
legacy of Arts, Health, and Early Years work
Helium is currently recruiting the director to facilitate the research and
development period and creation of a pilot performance as indicated in the timeline below. A further contract of engagement will be issued to realise the full
production in 2016, pending a confirmed time-frame.
Deadline for applications 29th August 2015, Friday
Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be in Dublin on Friday the 4th of
October 8th. Thursday to participate in training workshop with Tim Webb
October 29th. Thursday to assist in selecting creative team during recruitment
workshop with Tim Webb
20 days from November until January 2015, exact days to be confirmed. One
day a week for 8 weeks and 2 full weeks of rehearsals in January.
After the pilot has been created, a second term of contractual engagement
could be planned dependent on time frame, in order to realise the full
production. This could take place April-May 2016
Applicants must be available for all of the above dates.
20 days – divided between collaborative development and rehearsals x €175 a
day = €3,500
Travel to Kildare will be paid on submission of travel receipts.
Other information:
The project will be developed with families located in County Kildare.
Travel costs to Kildare will be provided for the creative team. Required working time
in Kildare will be approx 6-8 hour day. However, dependent on where the creative
team live, rehearsal days can take place in Dublin. We ask applicants to take the
place of work into account when applying.
Application process
Applicants must submit the following:
1. CV - Maximum 2 pages
2. Documentation of previous work
Please provide
Maximum 6 Images
Maximum 6 Video pieces
These can be uploaded to Dropbox or you can provide links to Youtube, Vimeo,
Flickr or another site of your choice. Please only include work that is relevant to this
3. Proposal
In order for the selection panel to assess your suitability for the programme, we are
asking applicants to submit a written response outlining your approach and
methodologies as well as your aesthetic vision to lead researching and developing and
finally producing the following piece of collaborative work:
An interactive, multi-sensory visual performance for toddlers with complex
disabilities and their families which will travel to family homes, using
puppetry/object animation and music/sound.
The initial creative team will consist of the performers - a musician and a
puppeteer/object animator – a prop maker/crafter, a set designer and a
This project will be produced by Helium Arts in partnership with the Jack and
Jill Foundation and supported by Kildare Arts Office.
Your response should consider the project background and Helium Arts' legacy of
work in this area, health and safety, artists' responsibilities, and current art practices in
the area of theatre for children with profound disabilities.
It is not necessary to devise or define the work but only to give us an idea of what
informs your practice and how you would intend to realise this ambitious piece of
work. You can draw on previous examples from your portfolio as well as concepts,
theories or practices of interest to you. Your response should display both your
methodology and interests as well as your understanding of context and the
participants. If called to interview, you will be asked to present your response into a
five minute presentation.
Written responses should be no more than Max 2 pages.
4. Short Statement of interest in working with Tim Webb
We are particularly seeking artists who feel that their practice would benefit from
working under the mentor-ship of Tim Webb. Please include a short paragraph
detailing how the opportunity of work with Tim will impact on your own practice.
Oily Cart specialises in productions for children under 6 years of age, and as young
as 6 months; and in theatre for young people with complex disabilities and/or autistic
spectrum disorder. The company has evolved a form of theatre that is multi-sensory,
addressing the senses of smell and touch and the kinaesthetic sense as much as the
theatrical stand-bys of seeing and hearing. Much of their work takes place outside
theatres and in specially created spaces that transform everyday reality into a
dreamscape. All of their performances are highly interactive and adaptable to the
requirements of each audience member, and for a considerable amount of time, the
performers work in a very close-up way, often one-on-one with participants.
Writer/Director Tim Webb is a founder of the company, which began work in 1981
and has more than 65 productions to its credit.
The deadline for applications is Friday, 28th of August at 4.30pm. No applications can
be accepted after this time.
Applications will be accepted by email only. Please email your CV, written proposal
and statement of interest to
Please upload any other media to Dropbox, Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr or another site of
your choice and send us the links or notifications in the main body of your email.
Once your application has been received, you should receive an email
acknowledgment within 3 days. If you do not receive this, please contact Avril Carr
Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Friday the 4th of
Should you have any queries regarding the application process, please email
If you are very interested in applying and the above interview date is truly not
achievable, please email us to discuss.