Exceptional & Extraordinary: Unruly bodies and minds in the Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability

Since humans first appeared on Earth, no two have ever been the same.

Yet somewhere along the way, certain bodies and minds came to be highly valued whilst others became viewed as problematic; as deviant and unruly, deficient and requiring adjustment towards a perceived idealised norm.

Funded through a Large Arts Award by the Wellcome Trust and a Grants for the Arts award from Arts Council England, Exceptional & Extraordinary is an ambitious project that aims to engage the public, along with professionals in the field of biomedicine,  in a reassessment of widely held assumptions surrounding physical and mental difference, disability and contemporary (often negative and discriminatory) attitudes towards disability and disabled people.

Inspired by the collections of eight of the UK’s most renowned medical museums and produced out of unique collaborations between artists and experts in medical history, disability and museums, each performance examines our attitudes towards difference and aims to stimulate debate around the implications of a society that values some lives more than others.

Julie McNamara, author of Hold the Hearse! On Tuesday 7 June at 7pm at the Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability, Normansfield, London, Julie McNamara performs Hold the Hearse!, an interactive, extraordinary theatrical journey through a myriad of museum collections that have impacted on the lives of the Mad, the Bad and the Unruly in
our midst.

This comic tale takes us through the history of two remarkable characters who evaded ‘the collectors’, complete with grime, gruesome grave robberies and grisly murder ballads. In this extraordinary production, Julie McNamara – who describes herself as ‘a mad woman made good’ – brings previously hidden and disavowed lives to light and, in doing so, invites audiences to question our collective attitudes towards difference.

Tickets £5 / Concessions £3

Tickets and enquiries: www.langdondowncentre.org.uk or 0333 1212 300

Julie McNamara is an award winning playwright and theatre maker. Her work investigates the extraordinary stories of voices hidden in the margins of our communities.  Artistic Director of Vital Xposure, her work is renowned for its strong narratives and bold visual aesthetic that places access at the heart of the story. Recent work has included the internationally acclaimed: ‘Let Me Stay’, a unique story of living well with dementia and a love letter to the artist’s mother.  An activist in Disability Arts and vociferous spokeswoman for mental health system survivors, she describes herself as ‘A Mad Woman made good’. Visit Vitalxposure

EE museums

EE 2