In May 2016, I was invited to take part in ‘Permission to Perform’ workshop and performance gig for disabled people at the Newhampton Arts Centre. The workshop was organised by Alan McLean of One Voice of Wolverhampton and funded by Arts Council England. The event was led by Robin Surgeoner, song writer and performer.
There were people with various impairments in the group, I felt at ease and relaxed. We spent all afternoon talking and discussing performance and practising. Robin and his band members also spent some time composing music for lyrics and poems that poets had written.
At first I thought, ‘I can’t do this! Performance is not my strength. What if my words don’t come out and fall down on stage!’ Robin told me to have a go on the stage. He said that it’s only practising out loud what you’ve written. At first I was nervous but as I heard other disabled writers and performers share their work, they all inspired me with their words and music. I thought I’d give it a go. Well I had no choice in the matter.
After my rehearsal performance, I received some very positive feedback. They all understood exactly what I’d said and the practice audience enjoyed my work. Next was the real thing.
The audience started filling up the seats. The stage and the acts had been organised. We had a special guest Rinkoo Barpaga, a deaf stand-up comedian, he was amazing. We had music, singing, comedy and poetry all under one roof. When I was called up under the spot light to read my poetry, I took a deep breath and said, “Yes! I can do this!” before sitting down on the stage. And I did for a whole ten minutes, I read with ease and I felt great!
I would like to thank One Voice for this great opportunity, we should have more of these events to give disabled people a chance to prove themselves. A month later, I received a cheque in the post!!