Invisible Visible – LGBTQ Creative Group

15th October 2020

Earlier this year, we mentioned that we were extremely lucky to receive emergency funding from Arts Council England (ACE) - for which we are incredibly grateful.

Over the past few months, a group of talented individuals and I have been working tirelessly to bring our new project, ‘Invisible Visible’, to life.

During the project we have been developing the play written by and starring Sarah Wanadeya which was first performed as Sarah’s final drama school piece and then as a “scratch” piece in our “Taking The Stage” Festival at MK Gallery last September 2019. Sarah has since been working with dramaturg Fiona Graham to develop the piece further. We’ll be telling you more about that in future blogs. Enough to say here though that it has been an incredibly fruitful experience and journey.

For the other side of the project we have also been working on a community engagement programme with the theme ‘Invisibility in society’. 

As mentioned in the above link, this programme, along with creative practitioners, will explore a variety of factors such as age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio economic status and our career choices, and how they can directly affect how society perceives us, why certain people and roles in society are ignored, taken for granted, isolated and forgotten. 

So far, it has been incredibly interesting and thought provoking to hear the personal experiences from a range of people from within our community. We have been working to produce an illustrated book with an LGBTQ group from Cornerstone Arts Centre in Oxfordshire, a multi- media Twine with a craft and sewing group in Wolverton, a film with MK College students and we’ve interviewed a number of people for a podcast.

We promised to introduce you to the amazing creative practitioners that we have been working with. So, to start things off we’d like to introduce you to Jessie Coller from Cornerstone Arts Centre in Oxfordshire. Jessie has been leading the workshops and discussions within the LGBTQ group via Zoom. Lots of ideas and conversations have come out about how individuals have felt. 

Here’s a little bit about Jessie and why we’re working with her:

Jessie Coller is an Oxfordshire based theatre practitioner and Artistic Director of Noctium Theatre Company. With a keen interest in collaborative and experimental performance, Jessie is passionate about using creativity as a tool to amplify the voices of people from marginalised groups. In addition to her work as a theatre practitioner, Jessie is also Arts Development Officer for Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot.

We have also been working with Jess Bolam, an animation artist and illustrator from Buckinghamshire. She has been working with the group alongside Jessies and has created a series of incredible drawings that depicts the group’s discussions. Here’s a taster. There are twelve in total, but the four here give a good idea of some of the issues discussed.

“You are not alone” 

“It can be a bit of a desert” 

“There are many components that make me” 

“You can hide in the shadows” 

Find out more about Jess here: Jess Bolam is an animation artist and illustrator based in Buckinghamshire, UK.

She graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth in 2018 with a first-class honours in animation production, where she co-directed and co-produced the award-winning surrealist short film ‘Whispering Onion’. She is now studying a Masters in Illustration at Falmouth University

Jess has created artwork for print, screen and theatre, and her clients include Karrot AnimationRocket Cow and Wise Guys. Her illustration work on ‘Invisible-Visible’, created by The Play’s The Thing and funded by Arts Council England, has gained the attention of BBC Oxford."

We will introduce you to more of the creative practitioners and the projects from our community engagement programme over the next few weeks and months. So, please keep an eye out on our social channels for details.

Many thanks to The Arts Council for supporting this project.