I’m tired, in a deep kind of way. On its own this might not seem noteworthy because I experience fatigue and energy-related barriers every day. But this tiredness is different because although my body is physically drained, my mind, heart and spirit are energised in new and joyful ways. The source of both my tiredness and joy are the same: this weekend we landed a big two-day, inclusive event for children in Croydon.
Last year we made a new piece of work for a German theatre festival, Festival Theaterformen. The piece, Journey To A Better World, is a spaceship-themed installation and play space for disabled and non-disabled children and adults. It was inspired by our experiences of shielding during the early stages of the pandemic. We found ourselves on a long and uncertain journey, thrust into the unknown – just like travelling through space.
We started thinking about the Castle as being like a Spaceship – the Starship Biscuit to be precise! Talking about our experiences in this playful and imaginative way helped us navigate this tricky time. So, when we were commissioned to make a new piece of art, our first in-person work since the start of the pandemic, we decided to bring the Starship Biscuit to life.
The Starship Biscuit lands in different places and everyone’s invited aboard to play, explore, create, connect and imagine our Journey To A Better World.
Over the last couple of days our spaceship’s been in Croydon as part of the Disability Arts Festival, Liberty. This is the first time we’ve shared Journey To A Better World in the UK, I hadn’t realised quite how deeply I’d missed being in playful community spaces until this weekend, and I felt a huge sense of relief, as though I’d returned home.
There’s a lot to do aboard the Starship Biscuit: jumping into our bubble teleporter, recording a captain’s log, customising spacesuits, creating a planet, and adding it to our Solidarity Solar System. Everyone can take control of the spaceship in the Captain’s Chair, explore new worlds in the Zero G sensory play area, or rest in our Tranquillity Node. There’s also guest artist Tarik Elmoutawakil’s alien space rave, Galactic Get Down.
We’ve got loads of lovely photos from this weekend that help tell the story of how it went:
Photos by: Rosin Murphy
My personal highlights include seeing children and adults exploring the spaceship and finding new ways to play inside it. One child made a ‘black hole’ using some carefully positioned seating, which sucked in planet shaped balls (as well as other children and adults!) I also loved both of our ‘Captain of the Hour’ conversations when we hand over the spaceship to another disabled artist to learn about their journey so far and their vision for a better world.
It felt exciting to be in an intergenerational and disabled-centred space – the conversations were beautiful, surreal, important, and silly all at the same time.
We hope there will be more landings of Journey To A Better World in future. Space to play, connect, reflect, and imagine together are vital for us all. Sadly, for many disabled people these opportunities are in short supply, particularly for those of us who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to COVID-19. If you can’t wait for our next landing, you can find our Journey to a Better World – Captain’s Log Activity Booklet here.
To everyone who joined us in Croydon, thank you for contributing your ideas, energy, and experiences, and for bringing our Spaceship to life.