Starting Line Biographies

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Rachel Gadsden

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Rachel Gadsden is a British visual artist who exhibits internationally and works across mainstream and disability art sectors. Rachel’s artistic methodology is expressionistic, energetic and raw, echoing the deepest motivations of what it is to be human. Wasteland was voted most popular painting in Hunting Competition 2003.  Awards include: Artsadmin Bursary 2004, Dada Visual Artist of the Year 2005, Shrewsbury International Painting Prize 2006, Holton Lee International Disability Arts Prize 2007, Momentum Arts Council/Dada-South Bursary and Dada International Arts Award 2009. Global Alchemy was commended in Freedom To Create 2011.Recent commissions have included a yearlong appointment and major solo exhibition as the first contemporary Artist-in-Residence at Hampton Court Palace (2007-2008), painting for the Beijing-London Paralympics Handover at Stoke Mandeville; collaborative stage performance for the Without Walls Festivals 2011.In 2011 Rachel won an International 2012 – Unlimited Cultural Olympiad commission, in collaboration with the Bambanani Group of Khayelitsha Township South Africa, Unlimited Global Alchemy.

Ryan Dawson Laight

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Ryan Dawson Laight is a visual artist and maker working in film, theatre and commercial television. He specialises in set, props and costume, working with clients from initial design through to final production. Current projects include work with the University of Chichester and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, and his clients range from small theatre companies through to commercial television producers. Ryan has a particular interest in working with young people and marginalised groups, and divides his time between commercial and community-based arts projects. He emphasizes confidence building through the arts, using film, animation, illustration and drama skills, and with young people encourages an on-going sense of commitment to the work. He worked extensively in school settings through Creative Partnerships, and has also worked with young offenders, youth theatre groups, with special needs organisations, and with residents in a sheltered housing scheme.

Jonny Pilcher

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Jonny Pilcher is a composer and sound designer working in film, theatre and dance. He has scored Oscar and BAFTA nominated documentaries (Mugabe and the White African, You've been Trumped, the Waiting) and award winning plays (Red Capes - The Idiot Colony, Danny's Deal at the Old Vic theatre and several pieces by acclaimed performer Andrew Dawson). Written for contemporary dance (pieces by Darren Johnston and Isobel Cohen), worked with Aardman Animations, produced, remixed and arranged for numerous bands (Athlete, Crystal Castles, White Lies, Super Furry Animals) and provided music for TV.

Abbie Norris

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Abbie Norris has been an artist filmmaker for twelve years. Her films explore a visual language that is emotive and psychological through observing human experience within an environment or situation. The main thread of her oeuvre focuses on the rhythms of human nature comparing it to the rhythms and patterns of nature itself. Abbie has worked closely with people of varying ages and ability and has collaborated with choreographers, filmmakers and artists for live performance. She has also toured her work internationally.

Freddie Opoku-Addaie

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Freddie Opoku-Addaie is a choreographer, performer, Lecturer and Artistic Director of Jagged Antics. Born in East London and raised partly in Ghana, Freddie studied at the London Contemporary Dance School and the California Institute for the Arts. Opoku-Addaie performances speak with sensibility for the new generation of the urban experience. He was awarded a Jardin d’Europe Residency (Bucharest 2010) and Dartington Artist residencies to develop Absent Made Present, commissioned by Royal Opera House ROH2, which premiered in Linbury Studios at the Opera House March 2012.  Fidelity Project (2010/11, co- created and Performed with Frauke Requart), and Silence Speaks Volumes (2006) both works commissioned by the Place Prize sponsored by Bloomberg reached the Finals. Both works have toured internationally with Silence Speaks Volumes winning the VI Certamen Internacional de Coreografia (Spain). Fidelity Project has been presented at B-Motion festival (Italy) and London’s Sadler’s Wells. Opoku-Addaie is a recipient of the Robin Howard Foundation Commission (2009), with which he created the trio Mis-thread, presented at festivals including Dance Umbrella’s Brief Encounter (2010). In 2008 he and Jorge Crecis co- created Bf, was selected for Aerowaves Dance Across Europe (2009-2010). Other commissions include Scratch Love for Deloitte Ignite 2010 (Royal Opera House). He is a fellow of the ADAD Trailblazer Bursary (2008), selected for the Jerwood Bank Project with Siobhan Davies Dance Company (2008), Choreoroam Europe 2009 (an international research project for choreographers, and was also one of the selected choreographers for the Enparts Campus, (Belgrade 2010).  Opoku-Addaie works extensively national and international with vocational institutions, youth companies to leading workshop and create works. He was recently a Guest Lecturer (Theatre Studies) at the University of East London. Opoku-Addaie was a Royal Opera House ROH2 Associate Artist (2009-11).

Candoco Dance Company

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Candoco Dance Company is the dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. They create excellent and profound experiences for audiences and participants that excite, challenge and broaden perceptions of art and ability, and place people and collaboration at the heart.  They commission productions created by world-class choreographers for national and international touring and deliver an extensive learning programme to provide broad access to the highest quality dance.

Helen Day

Script writer and Direction for the Audio Description

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Helen Day is an actress whose work spans theatre, film, television and radio. She has worked extensively in street theatre and on many site specific projects. Most recently she has appeared in "Like a Fish Out of Water", a co-production between the Seven Sisters Group and the English National Ballet, which took place in two London lidos as part of the Secrets programme of the London 2012 Festival. She is delighted to have been asked to assist with the development of an integrated audio description for 'Starting Line'.

 

Edward Burnside

Script writer and Direction for the Audio Description

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Ed Burnside is a Brighton based director and writer. For six years he has been co-Artistic Director of Dorset Corset Theatre Company for whom he has directed their national tours of Persuasion, Far From The Madding Crowd and Northanger Abbey and produced Under The Greenwood Tree, Frankenstein and Cosi fan Tutte. He also has a close working relationship with Big Wooden Horse for whom he has directed Stuck, The Way Back Home and The Night Before Christmas: he has toured nationally and internationally with the company. He has a commitment to accessible arts, having worked closely to create integrated sign interpreted performances for children at artsdepot alongside signer, Jeni Draper. He is also Associate Lecturer in Music Theatre, working closely with Musical Director Julian Kelly, where he has directed Cabaret and Threepenny Opera. It was at University of Chichester that he met and began to collaborate with Ryan Dawson Laight. He is interested in and excited by work that explores the fringes of society and continues to work closely with Nigerian drag opera star, Le Gateau Chocolat, having just associate directed his latest solo piece at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

 

Ben Owen-Jones

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Ben Owen-Jones is a British actor. His first television appearance was as a child when he appeared in the BBC children's programme Grange Hill.

In 1995, he had an accident which resulted in a Spinal injury, leaving him paraplegic and deaf in one ear. Since then he uses a wheelchair for mobility and has selective hearing!

Following rehabilitation he studied Interactive art at undergraduate
level and went on to sit a Postgraduate Degree in Multimedia.His
artwork from this time was exhibited both in this country and in
Europe.

In 2005, he was selected to take part in the Talent Fund for Disabled Actors – a bursary scheme organised by the BBC, Channel 4 and the Actors Centre. The scheme was designed to address the lack of onscreen actors with disabilities by providing BBC masterclasses delivered by leading TV directors, and Actors Centre training. Following this he was cast in the new BBC drama, New Street Law where he played Chris Quick; a semi-regular character who was also paraplegic. Since then he has gone on to appear in several T.V. dramas including Dalziel & Pascoe and Chanel 4's Shameless. He recently played the part of a wounded soldier in the dramatisation of the story of Dr. Ludwig Guttmann written by Lucy Gannon.

Since becoming disabled he has worked with charities in England and Wales to offer support to other people who have sustained spinal injuries.

Caroline Parker

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Caroline Parker moved to London to go to mime school in '82 and stayed when she got her first acting job before she left the school.  Acting in TIE for the next 15 years she played various roles from age 5 to 84.  After succesfully launching her cabaret act of sign songs playing at such festivals as Glastonbury, she had several one woman theatre shows comissioned, most critaically acclaimed was 'Signs Of A Diva' written and co-directed by Nona Shepphard with co-creater Jenny Sealey.  Most recently seen on screen at the Paralyimpic Games Opening Ceremony signing 'I Am What I Am' with Beverly Knight singing.

Design Team

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Kingsley Hall (Wardrobe Assistant)

Kate Healy (Wardrobe Assistant)

Bec Garland

Dai Otsuka

Kate Hadfield

Dancers

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Laura Dajao

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Laura danced with Candoco Youth Dance Company for a number of years.  Starting Line is her last performance piece with the Youth Company as she is expanding her experience as a young emerging disabled dancer with other companies and opportunities. Laura performed in the Olympics Opening Ceremony and will also be performing at the Closing Ceremony Paralympics as a member of Candoco Dance Company.

Lauren Dockerty

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Lauren has been with Candoco Youth Dance Company for a number of years.  She has just completed her GCSE’s and, amongst her other A Levels, will commencing Dance A Level this September.

Lauren, along with other Candoco Youth Dancers and dancers from South London, recently took part in an extensive site specific project held in London’s Morden Hall Park.  The project was commissioned by Siobhan Davies for a specific youth dance programme, choreographed by Siobhan Davis freelance artists, and supported by Candoco.

Kitty Fedorec

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Kitty joined Candoco as a support dancer for the Youth Dance Company in 2011. Before joining Candoco, Kitty studied dance at Lewisham College and Trinity Laban.  Along with supporting the Youth Dance Company, Kitty is an Associate Artist for Candoco, working alongside Candoco artists on out-reach projects. Starting Line is the first time Kitty will be performing along-side the Candoco Youth Dance Company, but with the dual role of supporting the dancers in rehearsal over the course of the project as well.

Kimberley Harvey

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Kimberley was one of the first Youth Dance Company members, joining the project at aged 13 years!  Her love of dance led her to successfully audition for the Candoco 1yr Foundation Course in Dance for Disabled Students in 2006 (The course closed in 2007).  On graduation, Kimberley joined the Youth Dance Company.  Since then, she has developed as an artist and dancer, becoming an Associate Artist for the company, and in 2011, forming a new company, Subtle Kraft, with another former Candoco Youth Dancer and Associate Artist.

Kimberley will be performing in the Closing Ceremony for the Paralympics as a member of Candoco Dance Company.

Housni Hassan

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Housni , another longstanding member of Candoco Youth Dance Company.  Shorty after graduating from the Youth Company, he took an apprenticeship with the main company, working with the dancers over several months.  He is now furthering his skills as a dancer and artist through shadowing opportunities with Candoco Artists.

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