AD | Visually Impaired Theatre – States of Mind Review

Note: I received complimentary tickets to attend this production, but all opinions are my own.


It’s good to be back. After such a long absence from auditoriums, it was lovely to take a seat in a theatre again yesterday, to enjoy the premiere of a new and original play.

States of Mind was produced by Extant, the UK’s leading performing arts company of visually impaired artists, and was showcased at RADA Studios as part of the Bloomsbury Festival.

Christopher Hunter’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s earliest published work starred Gillian DeanRobin Paley Yorke, and was an intriguing premise, as I had learned in my exclusive interviews with Christopher and Gillian very recently (and many thanks to them again for their time). So I was looking forward to checking it out.

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AD | Visually Impaired Theatre – States of Mind Interviews

Note: This post is marked as an advertisement because I have been generously sent complimentary tickets to attend and review the show. I accepted them because I am very happy to support a production that features visually impaired performers and looks very interesting.


I’ve missed the theatre, it’s been 20 months since I last set foot in an auditorium. So what better time to make my return, than to see a brand new play that is produced and performed by visually impaired people, and is fully accessible for a visually impaired audience. That level of inclusion is courtesy of Extant, the UK’s leading performing arts company of visually impaired artists and creatives, whose work I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in the past when I saw Flight Paths.

The production, called States of Mind, is a contemporary dramatization of the poem Venus and Adonis, the first published work by Shakespeare. When the Bard wrote it, London’s theatres were closed because of the plague, so it’s rather fitting that this modern retelling was put together during the Covid pandemic.

In advance of its premiere on Saturday night as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, I was granted the opportunity to pose some questions to writer & director Christopher Hunter and actress Gillian Dean, who are both visually impaired (as is Gillian’s co-star Robin Paley Yorke).

So here Christopher gives us an informative introduction to the play, before Gillian gives an extensive and fascinating interview about her career and the play, and the accessibility of the performing arts for disabled actors like herself, and she gives a lot of advice for aspiring performers who want to get into the industry.

So, many thanks to Christopher & Gillian for giving up so much of their valuable time, amidst their busy preparations for the play, in order to share their insightful responses with me. Let’s get to it.

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September 2021 Favourites

Hello again, I hope you’re all continuing to enjoy yourselves safely. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to get out to meet some friends and explore the city again at long last, as my aches and pains are continuing to ease off, now that I’ve figured out how I was over-correcting my posture problems. I’m still not cancelling my November NHS physio appointment yet, as I don’t want to tempt fate, but I’m feeling much better at the moment. So I seem to be moving in the right direction, touch wood!

That means I actually have some recent and upcoming London adventures to tell you about in this month’s post and video, as well as the usual mixture of entertainment I’ve been into. So it’s a bumper update this time. With the exception of a theatre show I’ll be mentioning, for which I’ve been kindly given a review ticket, nothing else in this post is sponsored or gifted. So I hope you enjoy!

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October 2018 Favourites

We’re deep into autumn now, with Christmas edging ever closer. And now that we’re well into the penultimate month of the year, it’s time for a look back at October to see what I got up to.

The major event, of course, was my charity abseil for nystagmus research, and you can find out all about it in my epic blog post and video. There are lots of photos and video highlights from the day, especially from the headcam I was wearing during my descent. So do go and check all of that out. Huge thanks to everyone who sponsored me, and you can still donate until 23 March 2019.

But there were still other bits and pieces going on during October as well. So I’m going to tell you about them here, and there’s also a video to go with this post as usual. I hope you enjoy my latest recap!

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Ballet & The Bard

Over the past fortnight I’ve been to a couple of theatre shows that in the past I wouldn’t have considered going to – a Shakespeare play and a ballet. Both types of production can potentially be quite hard to follow if you’re new to them, even more so if you’re visually impaired. So I was curious about them, but I didn’t know if I would like them. And I didn’t fancy going to anything that was a heavy drama or a tragedy.

However, my friend Claire spotted a couple of light comedies that had touch tours and audio description available – Much Ado About Nothing and La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter). So they were very intriguing. And having the extra accessibility really appealed to me, as I always find it very useful. Being able to closely examine and feel the costumes, props and scenery on a touch tour, combined with the audio description during the performance, ensures that I can fully understand and enjoy what’s happening just like everyone else, as I can feel confident I’m not missing anything important. It’s always greatly appreciated when people put aside their time for us in this way.

So I went to both shows, as they looked quite fun, and here I’m going to review and compare my experiences. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

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