On 29 August 2012, the world watched as Deaf and disabled people quite literally took centre stage in the spectacular and potentially game-changing Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We couldn't have been prouder of what our Artistic Director Jenny Sealey and her co-director Bradley Hemmings achieved, and the cast of Reasons to be Cheerful performing Spasticus Autisticus to a worldwide audience of 2 billion people was an incredible statement.
In an exclusive video interview to mark the third anniversary of the Opening Ceremony, actor, musician, campaigner and Graeae patron Mat Fraser, alongside Nickie Wildin (who famously played Miranda opposite Ian McKellen's Prospero at the ceremony) discuss what has happened to the lives and rights of Deaf and disabled people in the last three years, the continuing battle for equality, and the hopes, fears and opportunities for the Paralympic Games in Rio next year.
Mat Fraser says: "After the glory and highs of the 2012 Paralympics, it seems unthinkable that this Government could have taken away so many rights and services from disabled people. Far from their rhetoric of getting more disabled people into sports, they've removed the ILF, which, for many budding para athletes, means the transport services they need to get to their sports club have been CUT! It's a sad state of affairs, and it needs to change."
Nickie Wildin says: "Three years ago I played Miranda in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony 2012. A time of national pride. Proud to be disabled. Three years on I feel that attitudes to disabled people have changed. What does our future hold? Has that glass ceiling been cemented back on? I hope not!"
Watch the discussion in full below: