Square Peg Arts Club in Dover

Square Peg Arts Club is an award-winning drama club with a difference.

It offers a safe space for disabled and neurodivergent performers to express themselves and find their voice. We spoke to Beth James, the Artistic Director, to find out more.

 

What kind of activities do you offer at the club?

Our drama groups offer a safe, caring and inclusive space for learning disabled, autistic, and neurodivergent young people to take part in drama games and activities. We use creative methods to build confidence, self-esteem, and social communication skills, as well as having lots of fun and making new friends. The group will also work on performance skills and will have the opportunity to take part in shows.

 

What accommodations do you make for disabled and neurodivergent performers?

All of our projects are designed with access and inclusion at their heart. We are very person-centred, so our experienced staff carefully assess and address the access needs of each individual. We also have a team of volunteers who offer extra support to those who need it – we are really proud of our volunteering programme and in fact we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (equivalent to an MBE!) We’ve been running projects with learning disabled, autistic, and neurodivergent people across Kent and Medway for nearly 18 years and have developed an ethos and culture that celebrates difference and supports everyone to shine in their own way.

 

Why are groups like this so important?

There are very limited opportunities for learning disabled or neurodivergent people to take part in high quality arts experiences, and are so often marginalised, isolated, and discriminated against. We feel passionately that everyone should feel included, valued, and respected and so we deliver projects that focus on people’s abilities rather than their disabilities. It’s about feeling safe, cared for, accepted, and being able to be completely yourself.

 

What benefits have you seen people get out of the group?

We see people grow in confidence, learn new skills, and build new friendships. We create a space and community where people feel like they really ‘belong’, and that’s so important.

 

Are there any upcoming artistic projects you’re working on that you’re particularly excited about?

We have lots of exciting projects taking place across Kent and Medway, and opportunities for people to get involved. We run numerous drama groups, singing and song writing projects, a professional theatre company, relaxed film screenings, and much more! If you are interested in getting involved, or volunteering with us, please do get in touch! Email us at: [email protected] 

 

Find out more about Square Pegs Arts and how to get involved on their website, or follow them on Facebook @squarepegs.

by Alice Smales

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