Ushiku Crisafulli strives to use his creative talents in a way that positively impacts both the arts and the wider communities around him – particularly the LGBT and disabled communities he is a constituent of.
He’s committed to social justice and his first ever play “A Last Cry” in January 2008 used his lived experience of homelessness as a metaphor for living in a police state and was performed alongside Manchester Playwrights Forum at Contact a mere 3 weeks after securing permanent accommodation.
In 2008 his work on an installation of greenhouses documenting the positives and negatives of young people’s homeless journeys in collaboration with David Hoyle’s Artist in Residence at Contact led him to be invited to audition for Contact Young Actor’s Company – where he was guided by Marcus Hercules, Cathy Naden, Ali Gadema, Grupo XIX and Dende Collective early in his creative development.
This commitment to giving back and being aware of opportunities and support he has benefitted from has led him to be commissioned by David Hoyle to write a poem about his mental health struggles; work alongside the Prince’s Trust, Tameside Council, Depaul Trust, O2 Think Big/Go Think Big in project management, mentorship and facilitation; and representing both Contact and the Albert Kennedy Trust in youth leadership capacities.
His practice includes directing, devising, acting, musicianship, workshop facilitation, hip hop, spoken word, and performance poetry, writing for page and stage, comedy (standup and sketch), and actively forging community focused cross-genre creative collaborations through the OpenMind Collective.
The OpenMind event began in 2010 as a space for new theatrical ideas but quickly grew to become an event where any new creative work could be exhibited – attracting musicians, bands, filmmakers, dancers, comedians, circus performers, poets and theatre makers alike to become part of an inter-genre creative community while its core collective exist as a company of artists in their own right.
Ushiku Crisafulli has numerous poetry publication credits in UK, USA, and India, wrote short scripts for Contact’s Verbally Challenged, wrote and performed short scripts as part of VADA LGBT Theatre Company (specialising in comedy sketches), wrote and performed a science fiction morality play Infinite Perspectives (2011), and has two published poetry collections The Five Faces of Fulli (2012) and Litany of Varied Experiences (2018). He’s currently writing a professional wrestling musical Heel2Face, a children’s story about tooth fairies A Tale of Tooth Kingdoms, and a hip hop theatre exploration of the year of his Asperger’s diagnosis called Unmasked.