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Blog - Clive Essame

Is disability art just for disabled people?

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A group of disabled actors, some of whom are in wheelchairs on stage performing Clive Essame's Impisi

Impisi being performed

When I originally wrote my play Impisi my intention was for it to be performed by actors – both professional and amateur, both disabled and not – and for audiences made up of the general public. The play encourages us to look at some of the issues around disability while being entertained at the same time.

But I have found that most interest in performing the play has come from organisations for disabled people. Is this preaching to the converted? If so does it matter? If a play has a message, or a number of messages contained within its script, should it not be performed by and to people who may learn from the messages, rather than those who are familiar with them?

The play has been performed by casts of disabled people and performed to their families, fellow students, teachers and friends. I know from feedback that some actors have benefitted from their involvement – Jacqui Warne, Head teacher, Ellen Tinkham School said:

 “They did you proud, Clive! It was amazing and deeply impactful. Our children and young people have the absolute right to challenge social thinking and residual prejudice, about ‘disability’ and your play gave them the means to do so. It also gave three very talented young teachers the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership potential. They galvanised support from across the whole school and pulled off a brilliant performance event. I think it’s just crying out for further developments.”

So the impact on actors has been proven, but I really would like to see Impisi performed widely to public audiences. Please take a look at my website Wild Stories or contact me to find out more – email: clive[at]impisiproductions.com

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