Performers with disabilities find their voice in “OUTSPOKEN”
Byron Youth Theatre’s dynamic new production “Outspoken” will soon showcase the talents of six young people with disabilities in an innovative performance that explores themes of inclusion, belonging and identity.
Timed to coincide with Social Inclusion Week, “Outspoken” brings eighteen performers of all abilities together in a production incorporating dance, poetry, music and dramatic scenes.
Six of the performers in “Outspoken” have disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome and physical disability to partial hearing and partial sight. Byron Youth Theatre Director Lisa Apostolides has found innovative ways to incorporate all of her performers’ talents into the production through her collaboration with Michael Hennessy, the Artistic Director of SPRUNG Integrated Dance Theatre and sign language interpreter, Alison Toft.
In one scene, Alison interprets for Tallulah, a young performer with partial hearing. As Tallulah recites one of her poems entitled “The best of both worlds” Alison signs for and with Tallulah as she explores her relationship with friends in both the hearing and non hearing worlds.
In other scenes, performers like Jake, who is partially sighted, and Max and Tara, who have Down Syndrome, add live music and dance into the mix.
Director of Byron Youth Theatre, Lisa says that her experience of working with performers with disabilities has been “really wonderful and rewarding” and that it has been an amazing process to see young people express important issues in their lives through performance.
Raani Nichols, who is one of the regular performers from the Byron Youth Theatre, said that being in “Outspoken” has been “amazing” and “really positive”.
As Lisa says, “Outspoken is about breaking down barriers and finding a comfortable space to be in. I think for some people in the community they don’t know how to react or respond to people with disabilities and sometimes they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. When I was talking to Max [who has Down Syndrome] he said ‘why don’t people just ask’?”
“Outspoken” will be performed at The Drill Hall, Mullumbimby, NSW on Monday 30th November from 10am – 12pm.
This production has been made possible through FundAbility, a program funded by Northcott to support community projects that promote social inclusion for children and young people with disabilities. For more information see http://www.fundability.com.au.