The NISDA Conference 2018 will be held at the Perse Upper School, Cambridge during the Summer Half Term (Friday 1 June - Sunday 3 June). Come and join us to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of NISDA with a 'Celebration of Diversity'.


We have secured a number of exciting leading theatre practitioners at the forefront of inclusive theatre-making, covering a breadth of styles that celebrate the very best in British theatre practice.

The conference will commence on Friday afternoon at 2pm with a number of satellite academic forums. This year we also hope to provide possible platforms to other current issues including discussion of arts provision within the Prep sector, how to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe and supporting a pupil’s journey through to drama school.

On Friday night, following a quiz, games and BBQ, we will be inspired by a performance of Joan by the wonderful Milk Presents in our new auditorium in the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre. An earthy story of courage, conviction and hope, performed by drag king champion Lucy Jane Parkinson. History’s greatest gender-warrior takes to the stage, dragging up as the men she defies in this smash-hit show. Joan is a fusion of lyrical new writing and cabaret. There will then be the opportunity to head into Cambridge for the chance to discuss this fantastic piece of theatre further and socialise with other colleagues.

The workshops on Saturday will provide a broad range of options, including:

Kneehigh: Kneehigh are celebrated as one of Britain's most exciting touring theatre companies. They create vigorous, popular theatre for a broad spectrum of audiences, using a multi-talented group of performers, directors, designers, sculptors, engineers, musicians and writers. They use a wide range of art forms and media as their ‘tool kit' to make new and accessible forms of theatre. A spontaneous sense of risk and adventure produces extraordinary dramatic results. Themes are universal and local, epic and domestic.

Milk Presents: Milk Presents enable people to queer their world through irreverent performances which disrupt and celebrate gender and identity. Their work is gutsy, poignant and alive. Established in 2010 Milk Presents have made five professional productions to date; Bluebeard: A Fairytale for Adults (2011) explored our western obsession with a ‘happy ever after’, A Real Man’s Guide to Sainthood (2013) looked at modern masculinity and depression and Milk Presents: Self Service (2014) playfully unpicked queer politics. Their current shows are JOAN (winner of Scotsman fringe first, stage and spirit of the fringe awards) a drag king play about Joan of Arc and BULLISH (CPT & Jerwood Home Run Commission) explores non-binary and trans identities through Greek mythology. Milk Presents are an associate company of The Bush Theatre & Derby Theatre and are led by Artistic Director Lucy J Skilbeck (Genesis Director, Young Vic).

Graeae: Graeae creates world-class, diverse, high impact theatre, driven by the pursuit of inclusion and artistic curiosity. Graeae has over 35 years’ experience of working with D/deaf and disabled children and young people. Entitled ‘Reimagining Inclusive Practices’ this workshop, led by Graeae’s Creative Learning Team, will explore how we unlock our inner artist and how creative access approaches can be embedded to ensure equal participation and tools for embracing young voices.

Alia Bano – 'Making Waves in Ethnic Writing': Alia will be leading a creative playwriting workshop. She won the Charles Wintour Award in 2009 for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards for her play SHADES, which ran at the Royal Court that year, directed by Nina Raine. She also won the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award 2009 for Most Promising Playwright. Alia has led workshops for young people as part of the NT New Views playwriting programme.

Vikki Stone – 'Comedy in the Classroom': Heralded as “the b****** love child of Victoria Wood and Tim Minchin” by The Scotsman, Vikki is best known for her original comedy songs, but is also an actress, musician and composer. She has appeared on many TV and Radio shows, including: The John Bishop Show, BBC One, The Now Show, BBC Radio 4, This Morning, ITV, That Sunday Night Show, ITV, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here....Now, ITV 2, and many others. She is the current presenter of the BBC Proms Podcast. Vikki recently collaborated with Wells Cathedral School to create a Concerto for Comedian and Orchestra with the pupils. Join Vikki in exploring how to develop original writing and comedy improvisation with your pupils.

Sarah Redmond – 'Finding Your Voice': Sarah is a professional actress, voice over artist and creative practitioner. She has appeared in productions in the West End, at the Donmar Warehouse, RSC, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse, amongst many others, performing in plays, musical theatre and opera. Sarah has extensive television experience (including BBC, BBC3, Channel 5) and can be seen in various adverts. Sarah is also a very busy voice over artist. Sarah has regularly appeared in concert and cabaret over the past 20 years. She has appeared all over the world from Hong Kong to Clacton-On-Sea! She has also appeared at many London venues from The Criterion, Chelsea Arts Club, Cafe De Paris, Cafe Royal, Comedy Club, Duckie at The RVT and Heaven. Sarah will lead a workshop in how to support pupils in finding and using their voices. She will also help teachers maintain their own voices through voice preservation techniques, “working the room”, aiding vocal longevity and preventing stress from affecting tone and quality.

Nikki McGowan – 'Just Dance': Get those dance shoes out of the bottom of your wardrobe! Put on those leg warmers and start stretching now! Professional dance practitioner Nikki will be leading a good old-fashioned jazz class, maybe throwing in some more modern street and hip-hop fusion moments for good measure. The first half of this workshop will be a traditional class, followed by tips and hints for choreographing for mixed ability groups and encouraging confidence in those pupils (and staff) less confident in leading movement sessions. Nikki is currently Outreach Co-ordinator for Bodywork Dance.

Silver, Sparkles & Sequins: On Sunday we will be hosting the usual 'Games Exchange' as well as an opportunity to share school production ideas and resources. The conference will close with a special panel of key-note speakers, including leading actors Tony Jayawardena (Globe, RSC, NT, BBC) & Andrew Jarvis (RSC, ESC, NT, Board Member of the British Shakespeare Association).


The school is situated on the south side of the city. Sadly we are unable to offer on-site camping this year. The closest accommodation to our site is the Travelodge Cambridge Central, Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way.

The hotel is a short ten minutes’ walk from the school and the most convenient option for attending conference. Please remember to reserve breakfast as part of your booking as breakfast cannot be provided on Saturday or Sunday morning at school. Please call the Travelodge hotel reservation on 08719 846 101 or book online at the above link. Please book your rooms as soon as possible as Cambridge accommodation goes notoriously fast.

Further afield:
Please note that there is also a Travelodge City East & Premier Inn on Newmarket Road but these are a significant distance on the other side of the city and would require a taxi ride. The web link is: www.incorporatevenues.com/public/b/1572/. Bookings via this link need to be made no later than 12 noon, Friday 11th May 2018.

Alternative accommodation options:
If you are unsuccessful in booking a room at the Travelodge Cambridge Central or you are looking for something a little different, there is a wealth of accommodation in Cambridge – please visit the tourist information site for further information on accommodation: www.visitcambridge.org/accommodation