Matt describes himself as a disabled Performer who has hidden disabilities, who has been interested in the performing arts from a young age. He studied Performing Arts at SOT College, gaining a BTEC National Diploma, then at Stafford College gaining a HND in Performing Arts and Theatre. Matt has danced with and is still a member of FRONTLINEdance’s Breakthrou’dance, which he joined in 2002 at the age of 19. Over the years he has been involved as a community performer in the companies professional productions including ‘IGNITE’, ‘A game of Two Arfs’, and ‘Seeing Me’ where he was also an emerging dance artist. ‘Seeing Me’ gave Matt the opportunity to observe how Rachael makes work and how the dancers and community co-create the work. He enjoyed and learnt a great deal dancing alongside the new performance team, experiencing dancing outdoors in lots of different locations, and the time to focus on his own choreographic ideas and methods.
Matt has enjoyed developing his dance and choreography skills in our Breakthrou’ aDvANCE group, focusing particularly on his own dance technique and workshop leading/assisting skills, and volunteering for a range of FRONTLINEdance participatory programmes. The latter resulted in permitted work employment with FRONTLINEdance as a Support Worker for our Transcend Programme from January 2020 to the present, and a sessional support worker.
Matt has been a valuable, significant and important volunteer in our community participation classes for disabled children and adults for a number of years. Matt also sat on FRONTLINEdance board to feedback participants experiences of our participatory programme and ensure the participants voices were heard.
When Matt isn’t dancing, he volunteers at Masque Theatre Company and works as a simulated patient at University Hospital of North Midlands, with Keele University. Here he uses ‘role play’ as a patient with a learning disability to help the medical students know what is important and to help them build rapport, trust and how to approach someone with learning difficulties. Matt is also a member of Reach Advocacy, supported by Assist -Community Research work. This has seen him completing various tasks; research with Staffs University, a radio presenter of Six Town Radios, and an events/festival based evaluator. Volunteering for Reach ensures that his voice, and other disabled people’s voices are heard in Stoke-on-Trent.