Ellen is a learning disabled actor, director, writer (plays and songs) and public speaker. She has worked on many tours to theatres and schools with Face Front Inclusive Theatre. In this blog she focuses on her role and experience of the touring interactive show ‘Its my move’ performing to audiences of learning disabled young people, their parents/carers and school staff.
What I do in ‘It’s my move’
I am ‘melody’ in it’s my move and I am also the co-director with Annie Smol.
I do the admin and planning of the rehearsals before they start.
I help direct the scenes I’m not in so I can see the full picture from the front and I lead voice warm-ups and leave it open for everybody to lead an exercise at the end of the warm up.
As Melody, I am being pressured by my best friend to do the same as her when we leave school. I do what she says in the play. But then someone from the audience gets up to help Melody and show her how to talk to Lisa and Mack. Lisa understand what Melody wants and needs for her future and they help to stand up for Melody and by doing this they learn so they can make there own decisions for their real-life future.
What is it’s my move about?
The play is about transitions and moving on from school into college making decisions and safe decisions about carers and for young people when they come to work and more for young peoples future.
How did we make ‘It’s my move?
By hot seating which is answering questions from other people as Melody, my character and making the scene as Melody with improvisation. Annie the only other director writes it all down for the scene.
How Melody is like me and how she is different.
Melody is only half the same as me. Like me, Melodie’s mum is always working my
mum is always working the same but only one difference, my mum spends a lot of time with me. Melodie’s dad doesn’t care but my real dad does care he takes me swimming sometimes and we write a play together.
Melody has 1 sister and her sister is younger than Melody. I have 1 brother which is the same just the other way around. Melody has 1 best friend called Lisa who is always with Melody and always there for her. But Lisa loves animals with does not help
Melody. Melody loves hairdressing and does not like animals. I do like hairdressing but I’m not as mad on it as Melody because I do love the stage as well. Melody is allergic to rabbits but I’m not allergic to anything apart from pollen. Melody hates dogs I hate dogs generally, but if it is a pet of a friend or a
family pet then I get used to them. I have a best friend, in fact, I have lots and I don’t have a favourite. There is 1 who I go out with every Friday with our other friends since I was 18. Her name is Jade and I have school friends like most people do. Like Melody, friends are very important to me, I don’t need anything else.
My Favourite venue
I don’t really have a favourite but if I had to choose it would be dug dell (Dugdale Theatre in Enfield) because the audience was lovely and I liked the girl that got up to help my character and a good range of young people for the workshop afterwards. I also like Stratford Circus because it felt like home and the audiences were lively especially in the workshop we ran after the show.
And the last favourite was in the countryside (The Orpheus Centre) because the day was really very good. The audience did a very good workshop full of dancers.