Image: 'FARM', Absolut Fringe 2012 (WillFredd Theatre).

The successful applicant for the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2012: Arts and Disability has been announced and the Bursary Award is to go to theatre maker Sophie Motley.

Sophie Motley is a theatre maker and director; Artistic Director of WillFredd Theatre and Associate Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company. Amongst her awards are Spirit of the Fringe Award at Dublin Fringe Festival 2011; Best Offsite Production at Absolut Fringe Festival 2012, for FARM; Lir Revival Award Dublin Fringe Festival 2012 for FARM.

As part of the Bursary Award research, Sophie will explore new formats for accessible performance in tandem with exploring her own performance interests which include performance in unusual spaces; and as she states: ‘the creation of integrated performance practice methods which do not alienate a Disabled community and allow the non-disabled community to learn about and experience the performance in the same way as the Disabled community.

Patrick Fox, director, Create says: “Create is delighted to announce the success of Sophie Motley in receiving the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2012: Arts and Disability. Not only will the award enable Sophie to further develop her work in the context of arts and disability, it will allow a body of research evidence to be produced which will contribute to the broader area of arts and disability.” Padraig Naughton , director, Arts & Disability Ireland, added: “The 2012 Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary has afforded the Arts and Disability sector an opportunity to explore how artists involve and engage people with disabilities in the arts. In the case of the recipient Sophie Motley, the bursary will allow her to build on her extensive knowledge in reaching deaf and hard of hearing audiences to reach blind and visually impaired audiences. The resulting outcomes of Sophie's research will see the creation of a set of resources that will assist all theatre makers reach a broader range of audiences with disabilities.”

Sophie trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Rough Magic’s SEEDS III Programme and the National Theatre Studio’s Directing Course. She is a regular Staff Director at English National Opera, and Associate Director at Rough Magic. She was Resident Assistant Director at the Abbey. She is a founding member of ANU Productions. Sophie set up WillFredd Theatre in 2010 with Sarah Jane Shiels and Hannah Mullan. This led to work which investigates accessibility within different forms of theatre, stemming from a variety of communities. She has assisted at The Barbican, Chichester Festival Theatre, Pan Pan, The Gate, Talking Birds, Pentabus and the Abbey amongst others.

The Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2012: Arts and Disability aims to support individual professional artists in any artform working in the field of arts and disability. As part of the Award, learning arising from the Bursary will be shared with the arts and disability sector. This is the third year that the Arts Council has provided a €10,000 Bursary Award as part of the Artist in the Community Scheme. The Bursary’s purpose is to support and nurture professional collaborative arts practice in a series of different social and community contexts. The Bursary Award of €10,000 provides the selected artist with the time and resources to reflect, research and reconsider art practice realised in a variety of contexts. The Award is managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, and in 2012, in partnership with Arts & Disability Ireland.

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