Today was my first day of a Tron residency where I’m working on a new performance piece centred on ideas of disability. I’m working on ideas for a week and then I will be presenting my findings on Friday and Saturday (1st and 2nd) at 7.45pm with two actors – Anita Vettesse and Keith Macpherson.
I’ve been working in Cardonald College for the past
five years with adults and young people with various learning difficulties, additional support needs and disabilities and have recently started a MA in Inclusive Education. So for a while I’ve wanted to bring the threads of my practice together and work on a theatre piece that can look at some of the issues I’ve experienced over the years. It’s also quite exciting to imagine the performance potential of my research and experience.
But ‘disability’ as a theme is massive and requires some focus. Today I’ve mostly been asking myself why I want to tackle this topic and how it fits in with my previous work. So today I came up with some areas of exploration:
· Language– especially Glasgow/west coast terms and phrases. Also how these ideas are communicated to an audience through words and stories.
· Family – I think the focus for this piece is going to be on those on the periphery. So I’m not concentrating on actors with disabilities or learning difficulties – I think that’s a different project. I’d like to present viewpoints, stories, experiences, judgements...
· Changes – how has the provision for people changed over the last forty/fifty years? And has the progress continued or are we going back again (recent cuts to centres, support works, education etc).
At the moment I’m thinking the piece will be a combination of recorded conversations and live dialogue – a mix of fact and theatrical interpretation.
Today though has mostly been made up of emailing and phoning organisations to ask for support (attending the work in progress) or help in finding people to talk to, so I can gather some stories. Tomorrow however I’m meeting with a woman whose son was born in 1965 with Down’s Syndrome. She’s very keen to talk about the struggles she has faced as a lone carer over the years. I hope this will be a major element in the piece, and I’m looking forward to hearing her stories.
Will update tomorrow.