CEO & Co-Artistic Director, Daniel Swift FRSA worked at a local specialist school for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities. One Christmas, he wished to take his students to the theatre as a special treat but found nothing local. Daniel had always wanted to run his own theatre company, and had always wanted to work with people with PMLD, so he decided to merge the two.
Around 5 months after Daniel officially founded Concrete Youth, Belle (Co-Artistic Director of Concrete Youth) joined the ranks.
Our first production, To the Moon and Back premiered at Hull New Theatre in July & August 2019 for audiences labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The production sold out and was well received audiences and received 5 star reviews.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact of our audience. Upon the implementation of restrictions, we immediately cancelled all public activity, including a major touring production, and shifted direction to support people labelled with PMLD and offer exceptional, accessible arts provision form the safety of their own home.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we premiered a new, digital production, Shebaa's Adventure to Jopplety How by Elle Douglas. We filmed the full production remotely and the fully edited sensory film was distributed internationally for audiences labelled with PMLD.
Following the international success of Shebaa's Adventure to Jopplety How, December 2020 saw the global release of Winter Wonderland, a new digital sensory production for audiences labelled with PMLD. The production reached thousands of audiences across 5 continents, gained 5 star reviews and became a finalist for an ONCOMM award.
August 2021 saw our ground breaking research initiative, The ASMR Project - a global research project to examine the impact of ASMR on people labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The project brought together specialists from the UK, the US and Singapore and collaborated with 750 people labelled with PMLD across the UK.
Keen to support audiences labelled with PMLD as the country emerges from lockdown, we launched Sea Sense and Sensory Storybook - two, monthly sensory story programmes for people labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities in Hull, in partnership with The Deep and Hull Libraries.
Implementing the findings from our groundbreaking research project in 2021, The Whispering Jungle was developed, combining ASMR, live foley and sensory play for the first time. The Whispering Jungle premiered as part of a pilot tour in August 2022 to sell out audiences and 5 star reviews.
In March 2023, we revived To the Moon and Back with a reimagined production. The show toured the UK in spring 2023, reaching hundred of audiences labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The production was toured in a huge, inflatable planetarium with 360° projection, receiving dozens of 5 star reviews and ecstatic responses from audiences.
In June 2023, Concrete Youth's new, sensory walk around installation, Wonderland opened at the Big Malarkey Festival in Hull. The project, designed for people labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities at the festival was a huge success, reaching hundreds of audiences, allowing them an accessible experience that they could travel around with a sensory story, ending in a craft.
Following its successful run in 2023, The Whispering Jungle was revived for a second national tour. The production reached hundreds of audiences labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities across the country and received entirely 5 star reviews.
On January 31st 2024, Concrete Youth turned 5 years old. Since its birth, we have reached thousands of audiences labelled with profound and multiple learning disabilities across 5 continents, we have toured to dozens of theatres and arts centres, visited hundreds of schools/care settings and supported hundreds of artists. We're only getting started, and there's so much more to come...