Founded in 2006, Head2Head Sensory Theatre has only one aim … to serve the special needs’ community.
Each of our experienced acting team is trained in Makaton signing and the use of communication aids to ensure each drama experience is fully accessible. Our actors do not perform on stage. We perform amongst, and with, our audience making each session truly immersive and fun. And we are proud of the fact that our actors put their audience to the forefront of each performance offering role play, teamwork opportunities and absorbing impromptu appearances into the storyline!
We do not seek fame and fortune.
We do not perform in theatres, gaining press attention. We prefer special school venues where our audiences will find all the facilities they need to make them relaxed and comfortable.
With restricted audience numbers and an affordable charge, we will never make a profit.
We tour London and SE England with multi-sensory shows, pantomimes and immersive drama experiences reaching 3,000 children and young people each year.
In 2017 we set up a Work Experience Programme in theatre practice for students transitioning from special schools. The team is ably assisted by a feisty young woman – a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and autism – who loves to perform and show families that anything is possible.
In 2020, with touring suspended due to COVID-19, our resourceful artistic team developed exciting new ways to bring our interactive activities into the homes of families sheltering in self-isolation because of their children’s vulnerability. The result … we are now reaching over 3000 children and young people a week online.
And our future? Well, after 15 years of hectic and peripatetic life Head2Head now plans to develop a ‘first-of-its-kind’ permanent theatre base in Surrey to help sustain and expand our activities. And we haven’t forgotten our families. The base will include a drop-in centre providing fun and relaxing places to meet and gain support from other families plus small shops providing work experience for young people with disabilities.
The H2H team are based remotely, carrying out their roles from home and come together for putting on performances, holding meetings, and attending H2H fundraising and partnership events.
Anni Rhodes-Steere, Acting CEO
Anni is the Founder member of Head2Head. From 2006 she combined performing with running the charity’s admin. She admits that the hardest thing about retiring from acting in 2017 was losing close contact with the children and their families. However, she recognises that, as pro bono Administrator, she has undertaken a new, exciting and totally unscripted role.
Sara Cole, Artistic Director
I’ve been a theatre practitioner and actor for over 30 years, and my connection as a performer with Head2Head Sensory Theatre began in 2007. I was delighted to be appointed the company’s Artistic Director in 2017 and undertake the enjoyable process of writing the shows. In bringing stories to our audiences, there is always the challenge of finding new ways to engage with imaginations through text, sound and the senses. For me, there needs to be a correlation between the moment and the sense to support communication. By way of example, in our pantomime Snow White our heroine was given her name as a baby when she giggled as a snowflake tickled her nose. This moment was accompanied by wintery music and ice sprinkled over the audience’s hands: text – sound – sense – connection. But how do we continue to make these connections in the virtual world? In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and with our tour of ‘Come Trot to Camelot’ on hold, we filmed an adaptation of the show whilst in lockdown. Its reception has been extremely positive with viewers remarking how interactive, sensory and inclusive our work remains, despite no longer being a live medium. With the likelihood that touring is on hold for some time, this experience has led us to creating new ways to provide accessible and inclusive virtual entertainment. Watch this space!
Erica Flint, Actor
Trained at Rose Bruford. Volunteer for H2H since 2010 and professional performer from 2017 with appearances in Alice’s Tea Party, Peter Pan in a Pickle, Toad on the Road and Come Trot to Camelot. Erica has adored her time with Head2Head so far, as it has allowed her to learn not only about storytelling and performing, but communication skills and the ways in which these can be utilised to provide a wholly immersive experience.
Ed Elgood, Actor
Ed trained at Drama Studio London where he was selected to perform in the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe. Among various credits, he has performed in the West End with King Charles III and All or Nothing, on a No. 1 tour with The Mousetrap and on screen in the television series Genius – Picasso starring Antonio Banderas.
James MacLaren, Actor
Trained at The Oxford School of Drama.
Head2Head appearances: Aladdin, Peter Pan in a Pickle, Snow White, Toad on the Road, and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Other credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Shakespeare Company); Abe and Hans (Theatre 503); The Hound of the Baskervilles (radio) and Bohemian Rhapsody (film).
Louise Adamson, Actor
Louise achieved a first class degree in performing arts and has been performing with Head2Head Theatre since 2018. She especially enjoys facilitating the sensory moments which we build into every show.
Amy Rhodes, Actor
Amy graduated from Drama Centre London in 2008. She has enjoyed working with Head2Head for over 10 years undertaking many roles along the way. Some of her favourites include Ratty (Toad on the Road 2014 & 2019) and Robin Hood (Robin Hood 2016). In addition to being an actor and workshop facilitator, Amy is also responsible for Research and Development. She is currently working on a History project due to be launched September 2020.
Sally Phillips, Actress & Writer
“It’s a sad truth that very few of our theatres are easily accessible to those with physical disabilities. Even when the buildings themselves can accommodate them, the sensory overload of crowds and loud noises or the need to remain quiet make trips to the theatre impossible for many disabled children. Yet the need to dream, hear and tell tales about the world is just as intense. I’m delighted to be associated with Head2Head who have made it their mission to bring the theatre to those who cannot access it any other way.”
Samantha Renke, Actress & Disability Activist
A prominent figure and active disability rights campaigner, Sam is an accomplished actress, keynote speaker and equality / inclusion consultant. Sam has been an ambassador for Head2Head since early 2017.
Jules Robertson, Holby City Actor
As an actor on the spectrum playing Jason on a prime time BBC show, Holby City, I feel passionately that roles portraying people with autism should be played by actors who know what it feels like to be on the spectrum.
I love the way Head2Head Sensory Theatre makes live drama accessible to everyone irrespective of age or stage of development. I am amazed how they have achieved this with their virtual entertainment, making a treasure hunt game out of finding household items that can be used to make a filmed version of their show interactive, sensory and fun.
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was 10 years old and through my talks, videos, articles and other work I aim to inspire and educate people with my story. I also want to make stadiums, public transport and many other public environments more accessible for people with hidden disabilities.
I am delighted to be involved with such a fantastic organisation who also have the same ethos as myself. Many people with hidden disabilities, such as Asperger’s, can find going to the theatre a bit overwhelming. To know that Head2Head are working to make performances accessible for them is amazing and I look forward to helping them in their quest to make theatre accessible for everyone.
Tony de Vizio (Chair)
© 2020 Head2Head Sensory Theatre
Charity Registered in England and Wales: 1161873
Registered address: 15 Ralliwood Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1DD, UK