Every night shed be on the floor shaking what she'd...which is a really naff way into a post about a beautiful thing. Whereas I could have opened the post by recalling the conversation on Monday night with A and K, when A admitted, in his first floor maisonette, that all his home missed was a...
...shed......though still, in all honesty, that's not the kind of shed I mean, either.
The shed I'm talking about is this one. Chickenshed. And the twenty or so independent theatre projects, around Britain and the world, who share its inclusive vision.
On Tuesday, before we returned to Whitley, E and I were taken to its Christmas Show, a home-produced Lemony Snickettish telling of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' - a punk/goth version of the title song, framing a tale of lost rings and family redemption.
There were a number of cracking songs, a fanfair of great set pieces, within the show, but the finale, with actors and actresses of all physical and mental abilities on stage (650 people involved in the four casts and their support, who rotate, a night at a time, through the show's winter season), speed-thrashing the blazes out of the twelve day countdown, whilst the audience stamp and bop along, has toned all my hope-muscles for 2009.
Chickenshed is like L'Arche, a community I was fortunate to be a part of in the early nineties, in that it refuses to define us by our abilities. The result is a community driven by utopian ideals, which proves itself, against the odds, day by day. No theatre I have ever seen moves me like the work that Chickenshed produces.
There is a satellite project in Darlington - Steam Shed. And there is a project in North Tyneside, called the Learning Disabilities Federation North Tyneside, with which I am happy to volunteer, in which I recognise the same ethos.
Hey, perhaps we could set up a shed in Whitley? A theatre-group for all abilities, at home in the refurbished Playhouse?
Everyone needs a shed.