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People’s Palace Projects hosts groundbreaking digital performance of The Tempest

The online performance of the Shakespeare play was an adapted production in response to Covid-19, featuring young Peruvian people with autism.

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The Tempest was adapted to a digital format in response to the Covid-19 pandemic
The Tempest was adapted to a digital format in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

People’s Palace Projects, in partnership with Flute Theatre (UK) and La Plaza Theatre (Peru), developed the production during a four-week digital theatre laboratory connecting the UK and Peru.

The one-hour online performance, available in Spanish with English translation, investigated how the dramatic arts can break the stigma and lack of visibility around autism and demonstrates how taking part in theatrical productions can enable resilience among young people with autism.

Adapting to Covid

The show was adapted to a digital format in response to the Covid-19 pandemic using Flute’s Kelly Hunter Heartbeat Method. The UK theatre company has been developing a series of sensory drama games based on Shakespearean rhythms and language for 20 years and in the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced innovative ways of working online with people with autism.

Professor Paul Heritage, People’s Palace Projects Art Director said: “Created during the global tempest of a pandemic, this Shakespeare-on-zoom production brings Prospero’s enchantments into the lives and living rooms of people with autism in Peru. These unique, performances are ‘such stuff as dreams are made on’ - and offer insights into the role theatre can play as the world imagines a better, post-Covid 19 future.”

The Tempest is part of a People’s Palace Projects research project HeartBeat Creating Recovery, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) about how autistic people, their families, health professionals and artists in Peru and the UK can build an inclusive learning process through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic with the aim of reducing social isolation.

About the project partners

People’s Palace Projects is an arts research centre, based in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University of London. It brings together a diverse range of artists, activists, academics and audiences together to engage with questions of social justice through the power of the arts in the UK and around the world. 

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Flute Theatre toured the world with productions of Shakespeare, chaining the lives of people with autism, and their families with their groundbreaking Hunter Heartbeat Method. Since March 2020 the company has adapted its work, making performances available online, creating and performing over 250 shows.

Teatro La Plaza is one of Latin America’s leading theatre organisations. It recently completed a two-year neuro-diversity-inclusive theatre project for actors and audiences that culminated in an internationally acclaimed production of Hamlet. Since the theatre was closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the company also created online performances, webinars and virtual workshops.  

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