This is my younger sister Sarah. She lives independently (with the help of disability services) in Bendigo. On the weekend I went to see her perform in a production she co-wrote with her drama group. The drama group is part of the CreateAbility Events Network which was established in Bendigo in 2002 “with the aim of providing opportunities through the arts for people of all abilities to express themselves and connect with others. CreateAbility runs projects in visual arts and performance including drama, multi-media, painting and print-making. Regular dance parties held throughout the year provide inclusive and welcoming environments for people get together, dance, perform or just enjoy a night out.”
The play was called “Everyday Mysteries”. Interwoven with a plot about a missing child and the investigation, were stories of yearning, struggles with parents, blossoming relationships and partying with singing and dancing. The overall effect was of a bizarre fragility; a reality where people appear and disappear and where everyone seemed to be in a state of flux. I wondered if this is how many of them experience the world.
These actors are such generous performers. They dance in their wheelchairs, sing even when it’s difficult to form the words and communicate in a complex way through stage craft, movement, language and mime.
Sarah loves her drama group and I must admit that we felt guilty we hadn’t helped out more. The group has wonderful people to coach and guide them, with professional and experienced actor Ian Scott at the helm. But they had no help with costume and make up and preparation.Of course my daughter (who is studying costume and loves performing herself) and I stepped in on the night but we could have done so much more if we had been prepared and if we had been involved earlier. Which we plan to do next time.