Songlines is a music, drama and visual arts programme for young people with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and their peers, delivered by the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Camerata, which provides a programme of accessible and varied activities in a supportive and friendly environment.
Now in its sixth year, the 2014/15 Songlines project started last September with two groups for young people running in parallel with each other (one for young people with ASC and the other for young people without ASC). In the first term participants explored the Arts through a series of creative workshops, looking at storytelling and the role of the story teller. The groups communicated with each other using a 'Story Boat', as a way to introduce themselves and get to know each other before term two. In January, the two groups joined together and focussed on taking inspiration from all of their exploration of different art forms and channelling that into creating a series of short sketches and improvisations which they presented in The Studio at the Royal Exchange in March 2015.
"Children like ours are often very hard on themselves and to give them something so positive as increased confidence is a wonderful gift...One thing I particularly enjoyed was seeing Oscar taking part in a group endeavour. It can be really difficult getting children like ours to put themselves and their own needs aside in order to create something together. For me, seeing that interaction is priceless"
"My son is constantly on the margins. To see him not be on the margins is amazing"
Find out more in the following short film which has been produced following this year's project: