DANC Christmas Advert
TripleC and 53two were given support by ITV for their third Christmas Advert, championing diversity and inclusivity in the arts.
Following the success and ever-growing popularity of the TripleC and 53two Christmas Adverts, ITV this year extended their fantastic backing by financially supporting the project. The advert, born from a Twitter conversation about the lack of diversity on screens, became a hit in the first year with the short film being made on a shoe-string budget, but being watched by thousands. Last year this coverage grew with ITV and Elaine Wilcox attending a shoot day to bolster support for the second advert. With the grant from ITV this year, the team were excited to continue the annual project with even more gusto than ever, hoping to engage national news and continue to champion diversity and inclusivity in the arts.
‘Although we use the term advert, we aren’t actually selling anything other than the idea of inclusion. We watched the ‘big guns’ throw their multi-million pound Christmas Ad’s out in 2019 and Melissa Johns noticed that very few of them had any disabled or diverse creatives on screen. The idea was born and we’ve been amazed by the support. This year, we hope to continue the message, but now ensuring that inclusivity extends throughout the full creative team too.’ – Simon Naylor, 53two Creative Director.
Last year’s advert had hit over 100,000 thousand views by Christmas Day and gained coverage on National News as people watched Amelia Edlred take on the role of a young dancer, desperate to save Christmas for her dad. This year creatives from TripleC’s Disabled Artists Networking Community (DANC) were asked to pitch their advert ideas and of the many incredible suggestions, the team selected Andy Duffy as their writer.
‘I feel honoured and thrilled to have had my pitch chosen for TripleC and 53two’s Christmas advert. The work these wonderful people have done to promote inclusivity and diversity has literally changed my life.’ – Andy Duffy, Creative and Writer.
53two is a charity offering support for creatives in all disciplines through workshops, placements, opportunity and more, as well as supporting countless charities across the UK with mentoring, venue, equipment, tech support and other resources. They have recently moved into their fully accessible new Arts Hub and Theatre space in the City Centre where they host shows, events and meetings for all. With a lowered bar for wheelchair users, single level flooring throughout and accessible toilets, the venue, although not fully completed, is at the core of the arts for the whole community. 53two’s Manager and Producer Alexandra Maxwell said “At the heart of 53two is working on projects that offer opportunities to all, with a focus on diversity and accessibility. Working with TripleC on this Christmas project enables us to engage further with artists from the disabled community here in Manchester & offer opportunities working on creative projects.”
TripleC is a not-for-profit community interest company with a mission to drive up the role of Deaf and disabled people in the arts & media and the role of the arts & media in the lives of Deaf and disabled people. TripleC's projects break down the barriers faced by Deaf and disabled people of all ages. TripleC created its professional strand DANC (the Disabled Artists Networking Community) as a solution focussed initiative that works with the creative industries and with disabled artists to increase representation and employment of disabled talent. The Co-Creative Leads at TripleC are Cherylee Houston (Coronation Street) & Melissa Johns (BBC’s LIFE, ITV’s Grantchester).
“Disabled creative talent in general is sadly lacking from our screens and industry overall. We use our yearly Christmas Advert to celebrate that talent and showcase an alternative viewpoint of the world. The idea this year really promotes what we’ve learnt from our learning disabled focus group and flips it on its head – it’s not always about the disabled characters receiving aid-sometimes they can provide it”- Cherylee Houston, Actor and Co-Creative Lead at TripleC.
Following on from previous years, the advert does not promote a product or organisation, but instead focuses on the theme of ‘finding your voice’. Andy Duffy has written a beautiful, heartwarming piece that will allow the team to share the values of diversity and inclusivity whilst upholding what everyone expects of a seasonal advert. Andy has been a part of the TripleC community for four years and has drawn upon his own experiences and family stories to pitch an ad that will pull on your heart strings whilst sprinkling a little bit of Christmas magic.
Creatives Sophie Potter and Winston Gayle were sought from across the country with a raft of talent getting in touch. Sophie, the muse for the play ‘SOPHIE’, to be performed in London in February, lives with Down Syndrome and said “I thought it was absolutely fantastic to be a part of the Christmas Advert. It was so lovely to meet everyone and they were all really kind and friendly to me. I felt like a professional actor for two days.”
After a difficult period 53two & TripleC hope to deliver some much-needed joy into people’s homes this Christmas and bring some unity and positivity to what we hope will be our first proper holiday time for two years. Their advert will be released online on 1/12/21.