The Artist's Space

Foyer Sunken Lounge, Wed 4th Oct, 10:00am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Michelle Ryan 1st Provocateur: Dan Graham 2nd Provocateur: Julian Jaensch

An interrogation of different approaches to making performance that it is informed by our abilities and circumstances. What is the experience in the rehearsal room, the person on stage and the audience? Artists that use disability to inform their work discuss various methodologies that can inform everyone’s art.

Key Points (Updated Live)

  • Don’t attack the tyranny directly: subvert it and say that tyranny is wrong.

  • The industry is hard for everyone at the best of times. A lot of actors with disabilities, physical and mental, are in fear of disclosing their condition for fear of judgment. Mentioning it will probably be detrimental to job prospects. Disabilities are perceived negatively, and this is the issue. For the person with the disability, it is the least interesting thing about them. The hope is to get to the stage in the industry where disability doesn’t matter and everyone can get work, despite their neuro-diversity. It is no-one else’s business what someone’s disability is. The hope is that “disability” eventually means nothing, and is not “othered”, and has no bearing or consequence on industry or life.

  • The spectrum of autism is huge now, each with different levels of cognition, understanding and doing things. Autism was very specific a while ago, now it is a wide spectrum. It is important to keep creating theatre that presents autistic people in all their differences and quirks, giving them equal opportunities despite their disability. To show their unique talents.

  • A person with neuro-diversity is able to bring out parts of characters that speak to them in ways that someone else would not be able to notice, and in that way art is fresh and unique from their perspective. Theatre that cultivates the different talents of disabled people is so important, and using their talents to strengthen and help them with their short-falls.

  • The disability community needs to heal and grow and fight the barriers of “other”. Currently people with disabilities are “othered”. The process of bringing people with all different kinds of disabilities will normalise the “other”, a term which hangs over people with disability like a cloud. Bringing them out into the limelight and into the public eye raises awareness and provokes thoughts.

  • Disability theatre’s purpose is to create awareness, so that eventually “disability” theatre it isn’t needed any more, and just becomes “theatre”. The hope is that disability theatre is such a huge hit with such high quality that it blows people away. Amazing theatre can happen over and over again, so often that we don’t need to use the word “disabled” because it is so professional. The hope is for a future where stories aren’t feminist stories, race stories or disabled stories, just stories. Reaching a point where disabled people can tell their stories without being in a “niche” or special is the goal.

  • People with disabilities want to express feelings and emotions through movement and art. Just like all artists, creating something bigger than ourselves. People with disabilities start their careers with self-confidence on the rock bottom, told constantly that they cannot do this and that, and instead confidence should be cultivated and encouraged.

  • “Fuck you to the bullies, I can do whatever I want.” That is the future we hope for.