Festival Welcome

We are thrilled to welcome you to NEUROSTAGES, a two-day festival that celebrates and platforms neurodivergent performance practice from Scotland and beyond. NEUROSTAGES is a neurodivergent-led space that centres the voices, creative practices and lived experiences of neurodivergent artists and performers. We warmly welcome you, no matter how you identify.

The NEUROSTAGES festival is curated by the Scottish Neurodiverse Performance Network (SNPN) – a community of neurodivergent-identifying artists working with performance across Scotland. SNPN is a space to connect, and share experience, practices, strategies, and solidarity. The festival was borne out of The Limitless Project, a partnership between the National Theatre of Scotland, The National Autistic Society Scotland, and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and seeks to develop a framework for autistic people to engage with performance as artists, audiences and participants.

NEUROSTAGES now brings the Limitless partners and SNPN together to present a festival that is the first of it’s kind in Scotland; a stimulating programme that seeks to develop, nourish and platform neurodivergent performance practice. Join us for panel discussions, live performance, film screenings, sharings of works in progress and more – all from a completely neurodivergent line up of exciting artists and speakers.

NEUROSTAGES has evolved in the time of a pandemic, and we have needed to respond and be sensitive to that. It is important to acknowledge that both in-person activity and online engagement can create barriers for the inclusion, safety and accessibility of neurodivergent and disabled people in creative and cultural spaces. This is why NEUROSTAGES takes a hybrid structure and is a festival that welcomes both in person and online audiences. So, whether you are here in person at the CCA or online via the NEUROSTAGES hub, we want to thank you for your presence and for being here in a way that works for you.

As neurodivergent people, we know that attending a festival can be overwhelming or anxiety inducing at times – and NEUROSTAGES has been shaped with this in mind. The festival takes a Relaxed approach inspired by Relaxed Performance. Relaxed Performances were created to make watching performance more accessible to neurodivergent and disabled people by ‘relaxing’ the traditional neuronormative rules of theatre etiquette. They allow for noise and movement from the audience and tailor light and sound for those with sensory sensitivities.

At NEUROSTAGES, we invite you to relax into our festival atmosphere – be that at CCA or at home – by responding naturally, stimming to your hearts content, visiting our Chill Out Space and, most importantly, doing what you need, when you need it. The programme is jam packed – and we strongly encourage you to dip in and out as you like, responding to your own interests and needs. Go gently, with care, curiousity and joy.

Aby and Rachel

Curators on behalf of Scottish Neurodiverse Performance Network

Festival Ethos

“Neurodiversity is an essential form of human diversity. The idea that there is one ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ type of brain or mind, or one ‘right’ style of neurocognitive functioning, is no more valid than the idea that there is one ‘normal’ or ‘right’ gender, race or culture.” (Nick Walker)

NEUROSTAGES is a space to celebrate neurodiverse artistry and talent, generate neurodiverse community and culture, and centre neurodivergent-led performance practices.

Everyone is welcome at this festival, neurodivergent-identifying or not. The people who are here, both online and in person, are the right people to be here. Everyone’s engagement is equally valid.

This is a Relaxed festival. The festival accepts, respects and aims to support all communication styles, expressions, natural responses and preferences.

NEUROSTAGES is committed to solidarity across neurodivergences and disabilities. It is also committed to solidarity across other differences and identities.

Glitches happen and we all get it wrong sometimes. We will be patient and compassionate with each other and give each other the space we need to find the ways that will work for each of us.

We will endeavour to keep each other safe and to support each other’s access needs. COVID-19 has impacted all of us in different ways. Some who are here in person may be nervous about being back in a shared space. We will respect each other’s comfort levels, check in with each other regularly and keep a physical distance from each other.