Birmingham Hippodrome in association with Open Theatre Company are currently working with staff and students from Queensbury Special School in Erdington to produce Queensbury Capers, a short silent ‘slapstick film’ which will receive its world premiere at The Electric Cinema, Birmingham on 26 June.
The 14 students aged 16-19 years, have been working with Emma Bennett, a Slapstick practitioner, and film maker James Reader to develop their understanding of and skill in slapstick comedy, one of the oldest forms of physical comedy. Workshops have also included physical, visual and non-verbal theatre led by Richard Hayhow.
Part of Hippodrome Plus, Queensbury Capers tells the story of two robbers and a mystery man plotting a big robbery using a bomb in a box – the other box contains an antique. With the boxes mixed up by two hapless students confusion rains down and the mystery man gets more than egg on his face!
Richard Hayhow, Director of Open Theatre Company with 25 years experience of creating theatre with people with learning disabilities said “Slapstick is one of the hardest art forms to perform, requiring great timing, physical prowess and skilful interaction with other performers. The group have shown an extraordinary ability to express physically with their bodies and faces – true silent movie stars in the making.”
As a result of this project these talented young people have acquired many new skills that will help them in their future lives from verbal communication, time management to physical and film-making skills.
Liz Leck, Creative Learning Manager at Birmingham Hippodrome commented “Birmingham Hippodrome is committed to making theatre as accessible as possible for everyone. The experience we have developed in working in partnership with Richard Hayhow, through Open Theatre has enabled a greater understanding about the power that the arts can have when working with young people with learning disabilities.”
Queensbury Capers will receive its first ever screening on Thursday 26th June. 11.30am at Birmingham’s Electric Cinema, the oldest working cinema in the UK, and will be attended by families, staff and students.
Queensbury Capers is funded by Birmingham City Council Next Generation Fund and supported by Birmingham Hippodrome