Theatre ensemble shines spotlight on arts accessibility

Indeliabilityarts – a theatre ensemble which provides pathways for artists who identidy as having a disability – is bringing two shows to HOTA in October.

There’s a shift happening across Australian stages, with accessibility and inclusivity within arts practices and community spaces taking the spotlight.

One of the major players is Queensland’s leading inclusive theatre company, Indelabilityarts, helmed by established practitioners Rebecca Alexander and Catarina Hebbard.

Indelabilityarts provides professional artistic and training opportunities for artists and community members who identify as having a disability, creating original works that communicate the lived experience of its six-strong professional ensemble.

The company was founded in 2015 when Alexander and Hebbard, inspired by local and international trailblazers, identified a gap within the creative sector for students with disabilities interested in pursuing a career in the arts after leaving school.

Alexander had been living and working in education in the UK, and Hebbard had returned to university to hone her skills and experience in special education. One particular experience fuelled Alexander’s passion.

“I was working at one school in Peckham and actors from The Globe came out weekly to work with the kids, who then got to go out and perform on the famous Globe stage,” Alexander said.

“I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing anything like that with our kids back home?’”

Hebbard echoed Alexander’s enthusiasm, and the pair set out to create an inclusive, artist-led theatre company in Queensland.

Just three years in, Indelabilityarts is celebrating its biggest achievement to date, engaged to provide advice to the Global Games Sports Company in regards to the development of the 2019 INAS Global Games Arts and Culture program in Brisbane next October.

For now, however, the ensemble is focussed on its imminent Queensland tour, which sees two original works tour to Bundaberg, Gladstone and the Gold Coast over three weeks 11 – 27 October 2018.

“’Love Me’ is a new work designed to unpack the stigma surrounding mental illness and provoke conversation over how to promote mental wellbeing,” Hebbard said.

“’Look Mum… No Hands!!!’ was Indelability’s first mainstage show; a fabulous open-mic night of great music and heart-warming stories from the ensemble.”

In addition to public performances in each region, Indelability will host a series of workshops for community participation.

Hebbard said the company’s ultimate goal was to create sustainable employment for Queensland arts makers who identify as having a disability.

“In three years, we’ve grown from employing four artists with disability to having a permanent part-time ensemble of six artists aged 20 – 45, plus an additional practitioner in a technical support role,” Hebbard said.

“Our ultimate goal is to be the driving force behind the company becoming self-sufficient, so that it can live on and be run by artists with disability.”

Catch the Indelabilityarts ensemble on the Gold Coast when they hit HOTA on 26 + 27 October. For information and tickets, visit indelabilityarts.com.

 

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