Proud and Loud Arts describes its latest production, Cells, as `a thought provoking and creative glimpse into the extraordinary', exploring `the stigma of being different'. Anyone in Salford can probably relate to that. And that's the idea.
Proud and Loud are pioneers of disability-led drama but all of their shows are as relevant to the audience's inner life as they are to disabled people...love, loss, hate, sex... That's the power. And that's the emotional tie.
Usually the actors are on film or on stage but this time Proud and Loud is taking it one step beyond with ten live installations at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery in the afternoon of 22nd November.
Visitors to the galleries, who would normally be looking at gold framed landscapes and portraits, are going to stumble across all sorts of strange stuff - from a bloke in a cage (he's protected from you, and you from him), to a girl in a black body suit doing a piece called Strike A Pose, to a Happy Place tent, to a guy with a glitzy suit and helmet inviting `a funeral for everybody'...
Most of it is interactive, some of it is to watch, and some is just too much for some people, as Danielle Maycox found when the company performed Cells at Manchester Art Gallery last month...
"My piece is called Help and basically it's about how my needs are the same as everybody else's but only certain needs are recognised" she says. Help involves visitors putting on headphones and listening to Danielle's taped voice as she keeps eye contact with them throughout.
"It can get quite uncomfortable at certain moments" she explains "Different people seem to react differently to it. I found that men seem to find it more shocking than women. One guy took his headphones off, said he couldn't listen to it anymore and walked off!"
What on earth is on there? "You'll have to come and find out" she laughs.
Meanwhile, Kelly Hoye has had people clapping and responding to her piece in the usually hushed confines of a gallery. It's called Distorted Judgement and involves words, a mirror and more...
"It's about how I see myself but it's not just focussed around my disability, it's about feelings and I have tried to steer it away from me" she says "The feedback from my piece was really quite positive. A lot of people found it very powerful and a lot were moved by it and could relate to it."
The company has been putting the art show together for around six months and, with the move away from theatre, found it slightly daunting at first... "On stage we've got the support of each other but with this it's just down to you" says Danielle.
"It is very daunting but exciting as well" adds Kelly "It's a good experience and a lot of people have been keen to see it."
Indeed the two shows at Manchester Art Gallery were seen by hundreds of people and the installations at Salford will hopefully attract the same response...
"This is just completely different" says Danielle "Probably the most off-the-wall thing we've done..."
...Off the gallery walls, off its head and straight into the psyche of the beholder...
Cells: a body of work
Tuesday 22nd November 1pm-3pm
Salford Museum and Art Gallery free
There's no tickets, it's just turn up and tune in...
For further details and a video preview see the Proud and Loud Arts website – click here
Further details also on the Proud & Loud Arts Facebook page
Photos by Carl Gibson