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Barnsley Civic and Concrete Youth unite to enhance accessibility in the creative sector

Barnsley Civic is delighted to announce that Concrete Youth, a pioneering charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) through cultural provision, is joining them as an associate company.

Concrete Youth, renowned for their trailblazing work in sensory theatre, has reached over 7,500 audience members across five continents since their inception in 2019. Their innovative touring productions are specifically designed for audiences with PMLD, providing exceptional live sensory theatre experiences. In recognition of their outstanding contributions, Concrete Youth was awarded the Corporate Vision Best Sensory Education Award for 2023.

Daniel Swift FRSA, CEO & Co-Artistic Director of Concrete Youth, expressed his excitement about the new partnership: “We are thrilled to announce that we are an associate company of Barnsley Civic. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in our mission to enhance cultural accessibility for audiences labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

“By uniting the vibrant communities of Hull and Barnsley, we are poised to create and deliver inclusive, high-quality artistic experiences that resonate deeply with our audiences. Together, we will foster a rich cultural dialogue between these two dynamic Yorkshire cities, ensuring that our audience both locally and nationally can experience increasing access to sensory theatre.”

Concrete Youth is already an associate company of Back to Ours in Hull, further cementing the connection between these two locations. This affiliation highlights the expanding reach and influence of Concrete Youth as they branch out from their roots in Hull to collaborate with Barnsley Civic.

Concrete Youth’s Education and Engagement Department is the only one of its kind in the UK linked to a theatre company, offering curriculum-focused, sensory education for people with PMLD. Their offerings include sensory stories, workshops, parties, story massage sessions, and training and consultancy for theatres, schools, and care settings.

Barnsley Civic programmed Concrete Youth based on a recommendation and seeing some of their work online. The quality of their performances and their engagement with PMLD audiences demonstrated that Concrete Youth is a company that works on many levels, to provide meaningful cultural experiences.

Anthony Baker CEO and Artistic Director at Barnsley Civic said: “I am thrilled to welcome Concrete Youth as an associate company of Barnsley Civic. Having seen firsthand the incredible impact of their sensory theatre productions, I am confident that this partnership will bring new and enriching experiences to our community.

“Concrete Youth’s commitment to creating accessible and engaging cultural opportunities for individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities is truly inspiring. Together, we will not only broaden our artistic offerings but also deepen our engagement with diverse audiences, fostering a more inclusive and vibrant cultural landscape in Barnsley.”

The values shared by Concrete Youth and Barnsley Civic, along with their commitment to high-quality cultural activities, make this partnership a perfect fit. This collaboration will support Barnsley Civic’s ambition to become a regional centre of excellence for creating work for audiences with disabilities, reaching across the UK.




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