Sight Specific: visual impairment and hiphop theatre

Last year my long time collaborator the director/producer Andrew Loretto invited me to be part of a research and development project with Rationale Hiphop Theatre, as part of Right Up Our Street.

rationale 3The company were exploring issues around visual impairment at Cast in Doncaster, and with both Andrew and I being ‘viz imps’, it seemed a perfect partnership.


Over the course of three days, we explored, spoke, and moved in space, I shared a disability perspective, talked at length about disability politics, and brought work of my own and other VI artists to the studio. Andrew shaped as well and participated in the rationale 2sessions, and the artistic director, Nathan Geering, gave us tasks, too, and had us on the floor moving with the company – Nathan Geering, Sarah Grace Hobson, Torrell Ewan, and Hung Nguyen.

These remarkable few days are captured in these photos and a terrific video created by Richard Codd / Team Katalyst  which I would urge you to look at:

One of the most inspiring and unexpected results of the exploration, was the IMG_4099wonderful complicite developed between Sarah and I, with her responding to the first piece of disability culture I made when I was in my 20’s and recently diagnosed as having a mild visual impairment: a poem called ‘Fragments on a Fragmentary Vision’. My recorded voice, with Sarah’s choreography is part of ‘Sight Specific’, the performance Rationale continued to develop and will be performing in London next week. Tour dates follow, along with Nathan outlining the progress in this short guest blog:

Rationale Hiphop Theatre 'Sight Specific'

Rationale Hiphop Theatre ‘Sight Specific’








Nathan Geering: Rationale. Sight Specific.

Rationale have been commissioned to work on an exciting new project entitled “Sight Specific” as part of the Gi20 minutes tour funded by Remarkable Productions. For the past year Rationale have been in partnership with Right Up Our Street and have conducted a lot of research and development surrounding hiphop dance and visual impairment. This has lead to some profound discoveries and unlikely links between the two phenomenons. The company have been working closely with Visually Impaired Directors and Playwrights including Andrew Loretto and Kaite O’Reilly. The experience has been life-changing for the company and through working closely with visually impaired artists and partially sighted societies Rationale have realised that visual impairment is not just a disability but it is an exciting unique way to see the world. Kaite O’Reilly said to the company that her visual impairment has made her a better person. This is the kind of empowering message Rationale want to echo throughout our work and to bridge the gap between visually impaired and “Sighted” audiences.

The company’s latest production “Sight Specific” explores the phenomenon of Audio Description. The piece came as a direct response to many people with visual impairment saying they felt that audio description is boring and doesnt really capture the imagination. So we decided to give audio description the “Rationale Treatment” by bringing on board a beatboxer to stretch the boundaries of audio description! The piece also feautres poetry from acclaimed playwright Kaite o’Reilly and the usual high energy hiphop dance that Rationale have become so well known for.

“Sight Specific” is touring in outdoor festivals across the country summer 2015! Be sure not to miss it!!!


Stockton International Riverside Festival – 1st and 2nd August

London – 28th Blackfriar stories – Bankside between the Tate and Oxo Tower, Blackfriars.

Show Times 12:30pm and 5pm.

London – 29th August – Watermans Hounslow – Bell Square, 7-9 Staines Road, Hounslow.

Show Times 1:30pm and 5pm.

Hull – 5th and 6th September –

More info coming soon here…….

Footage from our intensive with Visually Impaired Dramaturg Andrew Loretto and Kaite O’Reilly here

2 responses to “Sight Specific: visual impairment and hiphop theatre

  1. Do you have a postcode and a contact number for the Blackfriar Stories performance?

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