VX Labs

A three-year programme that will bring innovation in theatre-making

Theatre set of 2 grey patterned walls showing a window and a door with a light above it. Text reads VX Labs - Innovation in theatre-making. Underneath the image are the Vital Xposure and Arts Council England logos.

Photo of the Quiet Rebels theatre set. Designer: Simon Kenny

Overview (skip to content)

Consultation report

Programme details

The Vital Xposure Laboratories (VX Labs) are a new, cutting-edge three-year development programme, supported through an uplift in the company’s core ACE funding for 2023-2026, that will allow us to initiate new explorations of disabled-led practices, pursue disabled excellence and support intersectional practices within our sector.

VX Labs Labs are held spaces for debate, innovation, experimentation and career development in a collaborative residential model.

Overseen by Project Manager Dr Mandy Precious (she/her) and led by Artistic Lead Stephen Bailey (he/they) from an artistic project focused on skill-sharing and developing disabled-led theatre.

We will be ambitious about access in process and performance, celebrate intersectionality and invite in those artists not yet represented, and ask pressing, difficult questions which can shape the sector to remove barriers preventing artists from all walks of life achieving artistic excellence.

“We don’t want to write stories about disability. We want to write stories about us as people, with all our complexities- much the same as everyone else”

VX Labs consultation, autumn 2023

Consultation report

Our initial projects are grounded in our Autumn 2023 national consultation. Dr Mandy Precious met with 94 disabled d/Deaf and Neurodivergent artists in a variety of contexts and locations (Oxford, Peterborough, Coventry, Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle, London and online) to produce our initial VX Labs report.

This report detailed the barriers faced in lack of ambition and access, the desire to make better, more diverse work, and the reality of the limited opportunities afforded to disabled artists currently.

The Executive Summary of the report is available to download on this page. For the full report,  contact us on intouch@vitalxposure.co.uk

VX Labs Executive Summary Report Executive Summary in BSL:

Programme details

Reflecting on the findings, we have devised a program of seven initial Labs addressing a range of questions and needs.

Each will be realised with sector and academic partners to provide a two/three week investigation to answer a core hypothesis. At each opportunity we will find ways to involve local communities and artists.

Each Lab will result in a report and findings distributed to the sector and beyond. Alongside Stephen and Mandy we have selected an Artist Panel representing a diverse cross-section of practice, experience and location to maximise benefit for the whole artistic community.

We are interested in new conversations and questions, not recapping existing discussions. This is a place of learning for all involved.

Initial Labs:

  • Creative Captioning in multi-lingual plays (Autumn 2024)
  • Decolonising Disability (Spring 2025)

Future Labs:

Vital Xposure will convene two further Labs in 2025 and 2026 and a final Lab in 2027.

We are developing the focus and targets of these projects through continued consultation. Likely topics include:

  • the interaction of Trans and Disabled identities
  • making Neurodivergent Theatre
  • making work for young Disabled audiences
  • the potential and limitations of technical advancements in access

Fulfilling Vital Xposure’s commitment as a touring company, each Lab will be delivered in collaboration with regional partners.

We welcome approaches and expressions of interest around mentioned topics and other disabled-focused initiatives organisations may be engaged with. Our focus is expanding, promoting and upskilling disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent creativity across the country while diversifying the stories and participants in disabled-led work.

Project Manager
A black and white picture of an older woman with short grey hair, clear framed glasses, with her chin resting on her hand.

An experienced senior leader in the cultural sector, Mandy was a Senior Manager at Theatre Royal Plymouth for 8 years, strategically leading 50 plus community engagement projects of all sizes and budgets, and leading on EDI, place-making, Trusts and Foundations fundraising and evaluation. Following a long freelance career, she was AD/CEO at Burnley Arts Centre – where she managed the organisation from near collapse to financial stability, and a second capital build.

Her key interest is in socially engaged practice and co-creation, building projects from the ground up. Her experience includes Strategic Development; Fundraising and Fundraising Strategy; Business Planning; Producing; Event Management; Monitoring and Evaluation; Training and the development of strong Governance Practice.

She is currently a trustee of Trigger Stuff Ltd.

She holds a PhD in Education/Sociology which focussed on social class and what characterises the journeys of successful artists from a working-class background.

Consultation Partners
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