Extant director Maria Oshodi has been developing the concept of workshops for visually impaired young people since 2003, when, together with Eileen Dillon, she led a half term week of workshops funded by Turtle Key Arts for teenagers at Sadler's Wells. These workshops used new and innovative methods of working with the group of visually impaired young people, making the work accessible to both audience and performers. The outcomes of the week were not just new performance and drama skills but increased confidence, social support from working with other visually impaired young people and identifying positive role models in the workshop leaders.
This was followed by a week at the Croydon Clocktower, again funded by Turtle Key Arts.
In 2004 workshops were held at the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden for young visually impaired people, based on their experience of audio described stage productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. These were organized by Sue Rolfe and SOLT.
In 2006/7 Extant also ran workshops for Key Stage 1 and 2 in the London Borough of Newham and began pilot work in Sutton and Greenwich for the older age groups of 13-18.
This work was supported by The Sobel Trust.
In 2008 Extant youth theatre groups were set up in the borough of Greenwich and Sutton, Bethnal Green, and Lambeth.
This work was kindly funded by the Foyle Foundation.