20 Oct No Assumptions, Please!
My inclusive summer in Performing Arts!
Hello everyone and welcome again to No Assumptions Please! I’m very happy to share with you how I saw mixed-ability performances and training in Malta take centre-stage this summer.
Malta International Dance Festival
The first thing that happened was Malta’s very first dance festival, which I’m very happy to have attended. There was one dance company from England which was very different to the rest. This dance company is called Stop Gap and they are the first professional mixed-ability dance company that I have experienced. There was one dancer who had Down Syndrome and one wheelchair dancer and they were both incredible! The festival opened with Stop Gap’s performance and then they hosted an inclusive workshop that I attended. What I really liked about Stop Gap was that they had a welcoming and warm environment and I also really loved that they were the ones who opened the festival, showing that dance can break barriers and to see dance as something to celebrate how diverse we are and how we all connect through dance. I’m hoping to do an internship with them over the Easter break and really looking forward to it.
Dance Festival – Me and the StopGap company
Another thing that happened this summer was that Malta hosted our very first Improvisation Festival where international tutors and improvisers came together and took part in different workshops, jamming sessions and shows. The festival invited the members from the Opening Doors theatre groups to come and take part, offering one free workshop each! I took part in a workshop about contact work and another one on gender and sexuality. What I liked about the Improvizza festival was that they took the initiative to be inclusive and there was no difference between the other participants and me and my friend from Opening Doors who took part. Everyone was very open and willing to learn from each other. It was also really fun when we went out for drinks and dinner all together. We were all a huge group of improvisers just doing improv together and having fun!
Improvizza festival – at a workshop. Photo: Marie Clare Grima.
Science in the City
In September I was part of Science in the City in a creative devised dance performance on biodiversity, led by Douglas Comley, Rachel Calleja and Sandra Misfud. What I liked about this performance was that it was mixed-ability as there was me and another member from the Opening Door’s dance group taking part. It was also an opportunity to meet new people and to work with an entirely new cast and it was a beautiful process of learning from each other as full equals in a show.
TVM show Action!
At the start of October, I was invited to be a co-presenter on TVM for a new programme called Action, together with Brandon Terribile. Action! tries to show teenagers and children different aspects of the entertainment and media industry. It runs 4 days a week for 10 minutes. So far I have done interviews of directors, scriptwriters and others, and also do the “Fun Facts” from which I learn new things too. I think that it is a huge accomplishment for Malta to have a presenter with Down Syndrome because this shines a light on representation for people with intellectual disabilities.
We need more opportunities like this to start coming in, to give everyone who has an intellectual disability a chance to inspire and influence society.
PBS, Action! – Me and Brandon Terribile