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Edinburgh group will support and encourage performers with sight loss

A unique group to help blind and partially sighted people find work in the performing arts has been launched in Edinburgh.

Visually Impaired Creators Scotland (VICS) will inspire established and aspiring artists with sight loss through sharing ideas, collaborative performances, workshops and supportive monthly meetings.

Its founder Kirin Saeed, a trained professional actor who lives in Leith, was partially sighted until the age of eleven when she then lost most of her remaining vision.

"I can just about make out a bit of light and dark now"

Kirin, herself, was inspired by Extant, a theatre company for people with sight loss that she worked with for six years in London.

"I don't think there are really any major barriers to actors and performers with a visual impairment apart from the ones that other people create," she says. "I don't think memorising a script is a barrier. I don't think getting around the stage is a barrier. The biggest one is just getting opportunities to perform, trying to infiltrate the industry.

"But how do you communicate the message to theatrical agents, the musical companies? How do you push the message out that people with a vision impairment can still have talent? That's what our group wants to try and open up. To create a network where we can support each other and promote the work we do when we can get it."

VICS will run a series of exciting and fun taster workshops in February open to all visually impaired people aged 18 and over to improve performance-skills and develop new ones.

The workshops will take place at Crannie Community Centre, 9 Cranston Street, Edinburgh on February 18th and 25th and Match 11th from 11am to 3pm. Transport expenses and lunch will be provided.

"Places are limited so first come, first serve," emphasises Kirin. "You are the performers of the future and we would be delighted to meet you! Come along to try out exercises that explore sound, movement, music and your own experiences in a safe and warm environment."

For further information, email [email protected] or visit Visually Impaired Creators Scotland. You can also call VICS on 07770614747 and they’ll call you back to chat.