Starting Line

Creative Junction has partnered with the Cultural Olympiad to commission a new outdoor performance, Starting Line. Visual artist Rachel Gadsden along with a creative team of film maker, choreographer, costume designer and musician are developing a new piece of work with young people from the UK and abroad which reflects the heritage of Stoke Mandeville and celebrates the values of the Paralympic Games. This collaboration of artists and young people was kick started in September 2011 with a 2-day residency at Stoke Mandeville, read about it here. As part of the Cultural Olympiad the project will culminate in an outdoor event around the Paralympic Torch relay and reaching thousands of spectators.

Funded by the Legacy Trust, this project is one of 15 Accentuate projects across the South East. The project will support the core aim of Accentuate, which is to create a cultural shift in the way society views disability. It was also born from a desire to provide opportunities for young people in the UK to make connections with young people in other countries, and to offer professional development for disabled artists. The project explores the similarities between art and sport by working with Paralympic athletes who will share their experiences as part of the creative process.

The artists, young people and athletes have kept up-to-date and shared work by using the e-community, a free on-line resource. Each group in the UK is partnered with an international group and have been set challenges as a catalyst for the connections and inspiration to the artists. International Practitioner Charlotte Bailey has worked with the UK groups to prepare them to work internationally and guide them in engaging each other. To find out more about the projects international links, read here about the work taking place in USA and read here about the work taking place in South Africa and the USA.

Click here to read a press article about the work taking place in USA

Becca Elliot, the Our View project person, will document the creative journey using film. Read about Our View here


Groups involved in Starting Line (click on them to read more)

- Harding House of Stocklake Park School, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire UK

- Charlotte Miller Art Project, Sao Paolo Brazil

- National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney Australia

- Shed at the Park, Chesham Buckinghamshire UK

- Thomas Dale High School, Chester, Virginia USA

- Charlotte Miller Art Project, Guayaquil Ecuador

- Epic Arts, Cambodia

- National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire UK

- John Wycliffe Christian School, Cape Town South Africa


Brief outline of the plan, culminating in a performance of Starting Line

From January until August 2012 the creative team will develop and rehearse a show using the inspiration from paralympians and the work they created with young people in the UK and work posted on the e-community from the five international partners. The performance will take the audience on a journey of a paralympic athlete, finding the parallels between the stages of a race with the stages of an athlete’s life and career. From the nervous energy of standing on the starting line to the elation of crossing the finish line, the show will be a combination of live and digital performances that also will give the audience a sense of how the Paralympic Movement has changed since its inception in 1948.

“Starting Line” News stories


Shadowing the flame

 Paralympic inspiration, from Slough to Sydney

USA visit to trace the history of the Paralympic Movement