This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online
I have lived with an impairment since birth. I have worked with people who are disadvantaged for one reason or another for many years and have been a professional writer and workshop leader since the early 1990s. I worked with South African actor and writer Ellis Pearson to create my first play Impisi – about disability and identity; and Devon based writer Judith Maitland on Mbali – about mental ill health.
Adapting a play script for different settings
9 February 2016
My play Impisi was originally written as a two-hander and was created for specific actors, Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkwane. These two South Africans were very accomplished physical actors, one was trained at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq and both of them had worked together for many years, in many countries including the UK at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Early on in the production process Bheki had to drop out because he was engaged to work...
Is disability art just for disabled people?
1 February 2016
When I originally wrote my play Impisi my intention was for it to be performed by actors – both professional and amateur, both disabled and not – and for audiences made up of the general public. The play encourages us to look at some of the issues around disability while being entertained at the same time. But I have found that most interest in performing the play has come from organisations for disabled people. Is this preaching to the converted? If so does it matter? If a...
On being a writer
11 January 2016
Being a writer is a hard business. “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” —Harper Lee But it is only the start of being a writer who produces work that is read, seen or heard. To achieve that a writer now needs to be a social media expert or a public speaker; a workshop leader; a teacher or a marketer; a director or an actor; and those things can be hard. The actual writing...
The best place to write a play!
22 December 2015
There can be few places that can be better to write a play script than on the beach in Durban, South Africa! Having been so impressed by the work of South African actor/writer Ellis Pearson, and made a plan to tell the story I wanted to tell about disability and ‘difference’, I went home. I raised enough money from commercial sponsorship through a family member to return to South Africa, and write the play. I was writing with Ellis, who has no direct experience of disability, and he...