Founded in 2008, Flutter Productions, part of Black Hills Works, was the first all-ability dance and theater company in South Dakota and remains one of less than 20 across the country.
Flutter Productions produces original, world-premiere productions for the stage, creating opportunities for performers of all abilities. Everyone involved, from performers with and without disabilities, volunteers, and audiences, benefit from these performances which shatter stereotypical perceptions about what people with disabilities can accomplish.
“When I first had the opportunity to put together an all-ability production, it was truly eye-opening,” said Heather Pickering, Flutter’s founder, and Artistic Director. “I witnessed people blossom, share their voices, and contribute creatively to a larger community on stage. This powerful experience is shared by every performer, but it has a different impact for those who have been historically disenfranchised.”
In 2017, Flutter Productions had the opportunity to study what Heather already knew: Providing opportunities for people of all abilities to come together and perform would benefit everyone involved.
In 2020, she completed the three-year evaluation, conducted in partnership with the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Center for Disabilities, and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Building Humanities Community Challenge Grant. The evaluation found that all-ability theater helped people with disabilities find their voice; changed expectations and perceptions about abilities and differences; created leadership opportunities; and had positive ripple effects in the community, such as individuals with disabilities finding employment.
In addition to fully-produced all-ability performances, Flutter offers classes and art camps for people supported by Black Hills Works and members of the community.
The next Flutter Production is “Roots,” which explores the symbiotic relationship between the seen and unseen networks of the forest and human beings. In the play, two sisters venture into the forest where they learn how to connect to the natural world from the diverse flora and fauna they meet along the way. “Roots” will be performed on stage on July 7, 8, and 9 at the Rapid City Performing Arts Center. For times and tickets, visit performingartsrc.org/box-office.
To learn more about Flutter Productions, visit flutterproductions.com.