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Pioneering theatre company’s work recognised with arts access award

Pioneering theatre company’s work recognised with arts access award
October 8, 2020

Recognising their commitment, hard work, and innovation in creating an inclusive space within the arts, Tim Bray Theatre Company is the recipient of the prestigious Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award at the Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020.

With the Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards celebrating the achievements and contributions of people, organisations and communities in providing access and inclusion within the arts, this year’s judges’ recognised the leadership of Tim Bray Theatre Company (TBTC) over the years.

The judges’ comment on the award explains “we applaud its long-term commitment to accessibility, the care and attention to detail in its work, its generosity in sharing its knowledge with others and, importantly, the fact it has an accessibility policy to drive its outstanding, pioneering work in making theatre more accessible to deaf and disabled children and their families."

Currently presenting their 100th production - the delightful and funny Greedy Cat, which is playing across Auckland at The PumpHouse, Māngere Arts Centre and Vodafone Events Centre - Tim Bray Theatre Company have always strived to make inclusive theatre.

Founded in 1991 by Tim Bray, TBTC has been bringing children’s theatre shows to New Zealand ever since, inspiring thousands of children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities every year to be confident and creative through New Zealand theatre. The company, a registered charitable trust, has provided New Zealand Sign Language interpreted theatre performances to children in all of their seasons since 2004, with touch tours and audio described performances being added in 2015, and offering relaxed performances since 2019.

Bray, the company's Artistic Director, says accessibility has always been the organisation's driving force, noting “this award means so much to our entire team because access is an everyday discussion with us. It’s also an amazing acknowledgement of the suppliers and partners of our arts access programmes over the years.”

Extra shows have been added to the current season of Greedy Cat, which includes accessible sessions, with NZ Sign Language interpreted, audio described, and sensory relaxed performances. People are also encouraged to donate via the company’s Gift a Seat™ initiative, aimed to ensure every child in Tāmaki Makaurau gets to experience the magic of theatre no matter their situation. With the support of their audience and funders, TBTC were able to distribute 1,200 tickets to Greedy Cat through their Gift a Seat™ programme to those who would otherwise be unable to see the show in its full glory.

Bray added “we have all witnessed first-hand the incredible flourishing in self-confidence and inspiration from children and young people who have engaged with our arts access programmes.

“It’s their individual journeys that continue to inspire us to do and offer more.”

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