The magic woven by Claire Ruffin is all in the physical telling of the story and the inanimate objects she choses to give life and new meaning to. Her strength lies in her ability to make a connection with the audience with a gentle elegance and a few carefully selected objects. She captures the imagination with wit and irony in an understated way and with a deep intelligence.
Her attitude and methods of working are particularly important to us as she includes people who are, it is wrongly assumed, not able to join in the contemporary arts; the elderly, people in psychiatric institutions and children on the autistic spectrum. Claire’s work is unique and inspirational in challenging the expectations of the audience and those working with them.
Since November 2013, Crying Out Loud has been working with her to create a new interactive work for children on the Autistic Spectrum. Dormez -vous? is a week-long creative residency programme, that is suitable for low functioning children with ASD, or with associated sensory needs and communication difficulties.
Using the original production of L’Insomnante, which is about sleeplessness, research and development periods have taken place in Poole with Montacute School and La brèche L’Institut Médico-Éducatif with children of varying ages on the autistic spectrum and a team including Claire Ruffin, Slavka Jovanovic, Joanne Skapinker, Vincent Beaume, Francis Coulaud and Caterine Exbrayat.
Since then, Dormez-vous? has taken place in special schools in Tottenham and Wimbledon (London) in October 2014 and at The Point in Eastleigh in April 2016. A full report of the week at The Point is available here.