Consultant, Trainer and Performer
Oil on canvas, 36″ x 30″, 2011
Michèle Taylor trained as a teacher and got partway through a PhD before joining Footprints
Theatre Company in Nottingham and beginning her career as a performer,
director and writer in the theatre.
Michèle set up her own business in 1992 to work at that edge where disability and ‘the
mainstream’ meet, training and advising arts organizations on making their
practices, policies and premises inclusive of disabled people. Her performing
career continued alongside this business, and she formed Bitter and Twisted
with comedy partner Shirley Novak. Michèle clients included Rambert
Dance Company, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Nottingham Playhouse and
the Really Useful Company.
She is a key trainer for Shape, and has trained organizations such as the Royal
Opera House, the British Museum and the London Organising
Committee for the Olympic Games. She has also worked internationally, with
the Museum of World Cultures in Gothenburg in Sweden, and museums in
seven Balkan countries, helping to develop their policies relating to disabled
Her secret dream is to wake up one day and find that she is Julie Walters!
“It really was unlike anything I’ve ever done before: to allow my nude body to be viewed by someone other than my
partner for nothing other than aesthetic appreciation. I don’t think it quite
sank in until you showed me the photos and I started to see my body as you were
seeing me. Not to have to hide, pretend or feel ashamed but rather to be
invited to show, to be, to celebrate. It’s not often we get the chance to do
that – as women let alone as disabled women. It was a rare moment of
joined-upness for me – body, emotions, intellect all congruent, all out there,
all accepted and welcomed.
I had a little smirk to myself today when someone in a shop made a stage whispered disparaging remark about me: it
was such a temptation to tell her what I’d been doing yesterday! That was empowering.”