08 Mar The Great Ensemble by Athanasia Bartzoka
I have been involved in the arts from a really young age but what I experienced in one of my first visits to Opening Doors was something new and unique. I have always believed that the performing arts are not a privilege and a talent but a necessity and act of will. But let’s start from the beginning.
Opening Doors is a nonprofit arts organisation that provides opportunities for adults with diverse intellectual needs to learn the performing arts (theatre, dance, music) and perform live. I didn’t know what to expect before I visited the intensive rehearsals for the Opening Doors’ new production. I had a “Tabula-Rasa” mindset.
What I saw though was amazing! The students proudly acting, dancing, producing music and putting up a show that I really enjoyed!
The play is titled ‘The Secret’ and is directed by Carol Brown, director of Draig Tan Productions. It has three separate acts that deal with modern issues troubling the western world while there is also one subplot based on the ‘Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There is live music accompanying the actors in their scenes and along with the music, there are lovely dance performances that enrich the show*.
The effort that has been put in by the teachers, assistants, external artistic director and of course, the Opening Doors’ artists/students is paying off. It invites all of us** to be part of the movement Opening Doors is creating. To have community-based NGOs providing opportunities like these whilst growing and offering so much to society a great honour for Malta, especially as this year, Valletta is the European Capital of Culture and this production will be part of Valletta Foundation 2018 programme of events: https://valletta2018.org/events/the-secret/
Opening Doors is empowering persons with learning disabilities to not only participate in the performing arts but also to shine and reach ambitious creative standards! This Ensemble is a “revolutionary” one if we can put it that way. It is helping persons with disabilities to engage with the community and puts them in the spotlight, showing the power of will and that everybody can achieve everything. Quoting from ABBA (which is heard in the play), “I have a dream, a song to sing, To help me cope with anything”
*The show will be performed 3 times this year. The first time will be at Teatru Salesjan in Sliema on the 26th & 27th of April. Then, the crew and cast will fly over to Leeds in the UK to perform on the 11th & 12th of July as part of Beyond Festival 2018. Last but not least, on December 8th and 9th, the final performance of the year will take place at Valletta Campus Theatre
**[More information soon available on our Facebook page!]