Ellie Griffiths is a performance maker based in Scotland. She collaborates across art forms to make touring performances, installations and exhibitions for and with neurodiverse audiences and artists. This includes individuals labelled as having learning disabilities, complex needs, living with dementia and on the autistic spectrum.
Ellie worked for Oily Cart as a performer and director for six years, (which you can see snippets of here) She is also a Winston Churchill Research Fellow. Her research focused on neurodiversity and contemporary performance in Germany, Holland, the USA and Australia, where she had the opportunity to be mentored by Back to Back Theatre. Ellie is also currently working as a researcher and facilitator for the National Theatre Scotland on the Limitless project, which is looking at the barriers facing young artists who identify as autistic, getting into the professional theatre industry.
In 2017 Ellie was commissioned by Imaginate to do an artist residency at St Crispin’s school (for young people with severe needs on the autistic spectrum). You can read her blogs about the process, and watch the final film, Frame. Ellie also worked with musician/performance artist Greg Sinclair and the Herbert Gallery, Coventry, in partnership with the Live Art Development Agency to run a DIY workshop for performance artists exploring collaboration with neurodiverse young people, which you can read about here.
Alongside ongoing research, Ellie is currently developing an original sound-based performance made in collaboration with professional musicians, sound artists and non-verbal young people on the autistic spectrum. This piece began with a development residency at Cove Park last year, which you can read more about here. is called Sound Symphony and will tour theatre venues in Spring 2019 for small capacity audiences of people who are on the autistic spectrum, with severe needs. You can see a video of the development, or read a blog about the creative process.
“I was absolutely awestruck by Ellie’s ability to balance a remarkable amount of commitment to working with diverse audiences, with an equally remarkable degree of critical thinking about what this work means artistically and ethically. I’m always inspired by those people who have the instinct and are not scared to drill down into the floor they are standing on to see what lies underneath.” Chris Goode, of Chris Goode and Company
In 2018, Ellie is collaborating with textile artist Laura Blake, to make a fully accessible sensory art exhibition. This is based on research and development they did together last Spring called Kinetic Spaces. In Autumn 2018 the fully developed piece will open first at Halsinglands Museum, before touring to other museum/galleries in Sweden. She is also working with Barrowland Ballet to make a creative adaption of one of their pieces of dance theatre, based on her Enriched Performance research. This will reimagine the piece so it can tour specially for audiences with severe needs, on the autistic spectrum and be artistically accessible to them.
Ellie regularly leads training workshops, and presents at conferences to share her ongoing practice-based research into neurodiversity and contemporary performance. She also mentors artists and companies looking to make their work more inclusive.
“Ellie came into Queensmill School and held a teacher parent workshop, which blew me away. The parents were so enthusiastic and eager to put this into practice. Just being able to give them this opportunity of something new and different meant so much, as these are young people that can rarely access activities in the community and for whom the world can appear so daunting. I think especially for our students with more severe Autism, which typically are our sensory children, there are very few outside companies that feel confident and have a good understanding of autism and its huge spectrum that offer such training and support. I really feel Ellie offers something invaluable which impressed the whole school.” Lucy Capon, Creative Co-ordinator/ASD teacher at Queensmill School
This network aims to be a catalyst and resource for the sector, developing critical thought and best practice in this field. If you are interested in becoming an active member, please join the facebook group.
You can get in touch with Ellie through the contact page, and check out her CV at the link below: