The Royal National College for the Blind’s ‘Blind Bookworms Jazz Band’ brought together blind and visually impaired young people in the Hereford area, for an exciting group learning and performance experience focused on 1930s and 1940s jazz. The project culminated with live performances by the Blind Bookworms Jazz Band as part of a theatre experience and exhibition for the launch of a new cultural venue near Hay-on-Wye.

The project culminated with 15 live performances by the Blind Bookworms Jazz Band before a live theatre experience produced by The Story of Books. These included a performance especially for an audience comprising people with dementia, PTSD/veterans, and blind/visually impaired; and a performance for 100 Year 9 school pupils.

The musicians worked with the creative team from the play to make the theatrical show a multi-sensory experience, and with a team of local teenagers.

The location for the project was Hay-on-Wye and although the performances coincided with the Hay Festival, many of the audience would not typically experience live jazz or theatre.

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Thank you for letting me experience the opportunity to practise my Jazz skills in a professional environment, I appreciated this so much. Also experiencing and researching the History of 30’s and 40’s Jazz was absolutely fascinating, and I would do it again!

Rachel Starritt

Pianist, Blind Bookworms Jazz Band