Ingenious Workshops To Bring Laughter and Movement To Disabled People’s Organisations

Organisations across Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire will be amongst the first to join four artists – including the world’s leading female clown – on a new series of online workshops.

The workshops aim to build movement, independence, boost confidence and self-esteem, promote mental and physical well-being and address loneliness and isolation for disabled people and staff.

‘Ingenious Workshops – Laughter and Movement’ is the brainchild of Nottingham-based theatre and comedy production company Ingenious Fools, who have been awarded nearly £15,000 by Arts Council England for the project.

Workshops will start in March involving participants and team members from groups and charities that support people with physical and learning disabilities.

These include:

– Unanima theatre group in Mansfield for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

– Artworks in Sheffield for artists with learning and/or physical disabilities

– Speak Up in Rotherham an advocacy centre for people with disabilities and autism

– Wilberforce Trust in York which supports people with visual and hearing impairments.

The artists involved include de Castro (66) who is originally from Brazil. Artistic Director of The Why Not Institute and a leading practitioner in clowning.

She has created a ‘laughter yoga’ workshop incorporating clowning and movement designed to lift the spirits and increase physical activity.

She is joined by:

  • Midlands-based movement director, choreographer and teacher Lucy Glassbrook who will explore storytelling through movement
  • Physical theatre performer Jane Sutcliffe who will lead two workshops in ‘Creative Movement for Wellbeing’ that connect with natural landscapes and ‘The Clown Inside’ that explores play, laughter and comedy
  • Vicky Hancock who will focus puppetry skills using everyday objects

Ingenious Fools director Susanna Clark has produced work for theatres and festivals across the UK including the Edinburgh Fringe and moved to Nottingham four years ago – attracted by the city’s vibrant arts scene.

Susanna works with a wide range of artists – with a focus on representing disabled and neurodiverse artists – to develop shows and produce UK-wide tours.

She explained: “The common theme through Ingenious Workshops will be laughter, movement and creativity. Participants will therefore have a great deal of fun and gain independence of movement which for many disabled people has deteriorated as the result of lack of exercise and cultural activity.

“As well as spreading some much-needed joy amongst people who have faced extraordinary challenges during the pandemic, our aim is to encourage confidence and independence to help them approach the “new normal” on an equal footing.”

Susanna continued: “Rather than looking at virtual performance and engagement as a short-term answer to fill the gap during the pandemic – our aim is to build skills that will be invaluable to both artists and audiences moving forwards –particularly those with disabilities.

“Many people, particularly those with physical and learning disabilities, may not feel uncomfortable with attending live performances or workshops for some time.

“In recent months, many have welcomed the opportunity to enjoy and participate online and we as producers and artists need to learn from experience gained over the past year to create even better virtual engagement for the future.”

For more information about Ingenious Workshops and future live performances planned, please visit

Jane Sutcliffe: Creative Movement for Wellbeing

Angela de Castro: Laughing Matters

Lucy Glassbrook: Creating Body Stories

Vicky Hancock: Puppetry Workshop

Jane Sutcliffe: The Clown Inside

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