Dip The Nib – Making Theatre More Accessible by Cormac Richards

Created in 2019, Dip the Nib is a company setting out to make a change in British Theatre.
Having debuted their first production, ‘Grapho’ at The Lab at Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP), they will be moving on to develop more work which offers a new level of accessibility for audiences and performers alike.
Daisy Higman and Emma Latham are the motors that drive Dip the Nib and their considerable experience has allowed them to refine their thoughts and ideas to plough a new furrow in the very crowded market of theatre production.

DAISY HIGMAN & EMMA LATHAM – Photo – Matt Austin
A couple of months ago I wrote an article for Sardines Magazine (read it here) which concentrated on the artist development programme at the Theatre Royal Plymouth; it is an impressive pathway that has been built up over a number of years. It is, therefore, a pleasure to now be writing about Daisy and Emma who are fine examples of how that programme has benefitted artists and how they have been supported.
Training at Central School of Speech and Drama and Oxford School of Drama respectively, Daisy and Emma have both been a part of The Lab Company and Emma actually started at Plymouth with the Young Company – the entry level for development. TRP’s investment in the duo is seeing dividends being returned. Their association with the theatre is well-rooted and, in addition to their performance work, they are lead practitioners at the Theatre, working with a variety of groups; adults, children and disabled people, including those experiencing mental ill-health. All of which has added to their skills and insight which they are putting into practice in their new venture.

DAISY HIGMAN in GRAPHO Photo – Dom Moore
Dip the Nib is intent on making theatre more accessible for all people and, in particular, this predominantly female company is looking to foster work from females; offering them more opportunities in, what is still, a male-dominated field. Both Daisy and Emma live with conditions which have provided them with a challenge in their development and their work; visual impairment, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and type 1 diabetes. It is because of these challenges that they have looked to create theatre which can provide a wider offering.
Thus, for ‘Grapho’, they have thought more out of the box and used the expertise of a professional audio descriptor, Chloë Clarke; the result is a narrative which integrates within it an almost subliminal commentary on what is happening; it is not an added layer to the performance. This is clever, inventive and original.

DAISY HIGMAN in GRAPHO Photo – Dom Moore
‘Grapho’ itself, is not a play about disability, but the devices used in the play to tell the story, opens it up for more people to experience and enjoy. My review of the play explains more about this and can be read here. This ‘rites of passage’, autobiographical play provides plenty of amusement, clever story-telling and a heart-wrenching conclusion. The audience, whether disabled or not, will have an enhanced and unique theatrical experience.
What of the future? Dip the Nip will take ‘Grapho’ to the Camden People’s Theatre in March 2020 and thence on a tour. They will also be constructing workshops, based on the play, to engage with a wider audience and so broaden their experiences. Such ambitions can only be positive for the theatre and theatre-goers alike.
Dip the Nib is a company taking a new slant on theatre and building on the experience of their members to explore new and exciting avenues and opportunities to those who may be left wanting for more inclusion. Their work has been already been recognised through the funding support of Arts Council England.
The success of the care and nurturing of talent at Theatre Royal Plymouth continues to produce fine exponents of the various theatrical arts and in Daisy and Emma they have exciting and innovative examples of what can be achieved.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, Please visit – https://dipthenib.wixsite.com/home

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