As The Wheelabouts, Helen Clyro and Rob Hill create bespoke performance pieces built around wheelchairs. With a wealth of outdoor arts experience as performers and makers, they feel that being a wheelchair user should not inhibit creativity or performance. Taking the traditional idea of the street ‘Walkabout’, they have adapted this into – ‘The Wheelabout’!
Helen had already worked as a performer, writer and director with various theatre companies before moving on to train at Central School Of Speech And Drama.
Always flexible and able to move between performance mediums, she has appeared in a variety of television, theatre, outdoor, community and site-specific projects. Over the past 20 years she has worked in these areas with companies such as: BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Walk The Plank, Welfare State International, Celf O Gwmpas, and Theatre Companies including The Fetch, Pentabus, Foursight and About Face.
She can move comfortably from the more formal constraints of corporate presentation work, to more improvisational areas such as street performance and Comedy characterisation.
Since being diagnosed with MS in 2002, Helen has adapted to new ways of working despite some physical difficulties. Although familiar with the Disability Arts scene from her previous work, this has led naturally to an increased awareness and involvement in this vibrant aspect of the Arts.
For the past few years, she has worked to develop her love of Street Theatre and walkabout shows into what has now become ‘The Wheelabouts’.
Originally from the Midlands, Rob studied Art at Coventry and Community Arts at Manchester. He stayed in the North West for several years after this performing in a Theatre Company and working in Community Arts and Music/Cabaret.
After moving back to the Midlands he set up as a freelancer working on numerous Community Art and Theatre projects, specialising mainly in Youth Music Development. During this time, as the need dictated, his interest in all aspects of the Arts led him naturally into Project and Production Management.
He has spent the last 25 years developing work in this field, particularly in site specific, outdoor, spectacle and fire shows. Starting in Production Management led to a wide understanding of many aspects of Theatre and Arts Production including Set Building, Lighting Design and installation, Staging, Rigging, Power, Logistics, H+S, Pyrotechnics and much more. Working internationally with companies in Portugal, India, Finland and Holland and nationally with companies such as Welfare State International, Walk the Plank, Liverpool Lantern Company, External Combustion, DaDa Festival, Pentabus, Foursight, The Fetch and many more, he has developed a passion for problem-solving and making things happen.
Having moved to Wales in 2002, he continues to work as a freelance production manager and maker, specialising in low voltage lighting design and installation, set building and technical prop making.
He has also recently started working on Training projects for Artists in Outdoor Arts, with his Production Management work concentrating more on the artistic side of show and event production design.