About the Magnificent Weirdos
How it started
Last year an idea that had been rattling around Sameena's brain finally fell out - a production company that makes work with accessibility built in from the start, centring communities that are regularly marginalised in terms of representation, inclusion and access and also provides a space for the practice and enjoyment of art for the wider community. That idea is becoming The Magnificent Weirdos, so here we are.
This is an experiment; a work in progress; a journey of hope and desire. We'll see where it takes us. Wherever it is, we've got no doubt it will be weird and magnificent and 'chef's kiss' good.
It is our firm belief that art is the manifest expression of philosophy, and philosophy is the template for civilisation. It's how we express our humanity and how we access the humanity of others. Everyone deserves the right to art. To make it, to experience it, to share it.
There are some simple ideas that we are starting with concerning the production and support of shows and workshops:
Every show produced by The Magnificent Weirdos will endeavour to keep attendance affordable for all. This means that most performances will be Pay What You Can, or koha*; or use creative solutions to overcome the price barrier. For example, holding a percentage of the tickets for koha… no lack of fun for lack of funds!
Shows should be welcoming for people with differing abilities, backgrounds and experiences. They should be easy to access and they should be enjoyable. They should be welcoming every night of a season, rather than just one date being designated 'accessible'. To achieve this, every show will be created with an accessibility assessment. This is a simple way to create a checklist of accessibility goals and achievements, and make sure accessibility is at the forefront of planning. If a show can have a lighting designer, why not an accessibility designer?
One of the barriers to access is that marginalised communities do not get ample opportunities to practice their craft, experiment, take risks and make mistakes as they build their own idiosyncratic practice on the way to becoming gatekeepers and professional practitioners. Mainstream community practitioners, on the other hand, are allowed to fail up constantly, and are afforded the opportunity to grow as individuals, rather than as representatives of a community. This can mean that when teams of professionals are brought together to build shows, there are not as many available professionals from marginalised communities as there could be. In an effort to redress this imbalance, we will endeavour to bring on team members from marginalised communities to work alongside established professionals. This allows us all to grow and learn from each other, and it broadens our scope to include improving access for industry practitioners, as well as for audiences.
We aim to deliver workshops in collaboration with the many Magnificent Weirdos out there, offering skills and fun for anybody who’s interested in being creative, whether they believe themselves to be ‘creative’ or not. Here too, experienced workshop leaders will be assisted by upcoming artists from marginalised communities, helping build their capability and supporting them as they become leaders in their own right.
Look, we probably won't get it right straight away. We may not be able to meet all our goals for every production. but we are damn well going to try to find a better way!
You can join in too. There's always room for more Magnificent Weirdos in the world. You can koha with your money, your time, your expertise, your word of mouth…
We’re still colouring in this picture, but while we do you can contact us directly here, or email email@example.com
* Koha is the Māori word for a gift, present, offering, donation or contribution, with connotations of reciprocity.