Dormez-vous? at The Point, Eastleigh

From 11-15 April, The Point, Eastleigh will host Dormez-vous? for students from Great Oaks School, Southampton. Great Oaks School provides secondary school education for young people with a range of complex learning difficulties including autism, speech and language difficulties.

Dormez-vous? is a multi-sensory guided experience for children on the autistic spectrum. A survey published by the University of Kent and the National Autistic Society demonstrated the positive impact drama and performance activities have on autism symptoms. In response, Crying Out Loud collaborated with French company L’Insomnante and their artistic director, Claire Ruffin to create Dormez-vous?

During the weeklong creative residency programme, the students participate in interactive and highly engaging workshops designed to give them the opportunity to explore creative activities. Dormez-vous? focusses on the theme of sleeplessness. Using a range of visually focussed workshops the students are encouraged to express different feelings and thoughts. The residency is designed to promote communication, socialisation, playful and creative interaction and encourages participants to find new ways to connect to the world around them. It builds confidence and communication skills and develops relaxation skills. The residency also prepares students for a 30 minute theatrical performance that is bespoke to the residency.

During the residency, 100 white pillows become the participants’ playmates. They become a winding path to walk on, a tunnel in which to hide, an artist’s easel, an unusual orchestra and a comfortable spot for a nap. A large bed transforms into a screen onto which images are projected; pictures of the previous day’s workshops, or of the show which the group watches at the end of each day. All of the activities are accompanied by live music, which lends rhythm to the residency and creates a calm atmosphere.

Feedback from previous workshops has been very positive:

‘The children were engaged, excited and motivated by a range of creative and sensory activities. It was a wonderful experience for children and staff.’ Teacher, Montacute School

With an elective mute student choosing to feedback verbally saying, ‘We had a pillow fight. She plays the violin. Great.’

If you are interested in talking to us about Dormez-vous? please contact projects axel(at)cryingoutloud.org.

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