Access All Areas' Attitudes

In Spring 2017 we approached Michael Wharley to take new headshots for the Access All Areas’ agency.

We’d heard great things, and wanted to get the best possible photos before we launched our new partnership with Simon & How.

Our calendars didn’t work out unfortunately but there was an exciting project that Michael wanted to talk to us about.

This was called The Attitudes – a reimagining of an 1892 acting textbook using modern day actors. In the original, every pose is acted out by the same middle-aged white, non-disabled man.


Michael was keen to show a diversity of people in his version, which raises money for theatre charity Acting for Others.

He’s been working on the project for eighteen months now, doing photoshoots with actors such as Gemma Arterton, David Rintoul, Gina Beck and Olivia Poulet.

The Access All Areas’ performance company were invited to become the first learning disabled and autistic actors to feature in the project.

Naturally, we jumped at the chance.

A recent report showed that of all types of people, disabled people are least represented in the media: 18% of people in the UK have a disability but only 6% of people on television do.

We work to challenge this – and the other biases and barriers people with learning disabilities and autism face – through our agency, artist training and development, immersive theatre, take part and engagement projects and our brand new training and consultancy service for arts organisations.

Soon enough, summer rolled around. So we shared a selection of poses from the handbook with our Performance Company and set them to work, either re-enacting or reimagining the poses.

How had emotions changed over time? How do we express our emotions now – as people and as actors – in comparison to how they were expressed in 1892?

We asked actor and facilitator Adam to tell us a little about the experience…