Yesterday was the end of a very long week for me which was full of peaks and troughs. Sometime I think my life is like a tsunami wave. I just have to go with the flow. This doesn’t come easy to me as despite being a hopeless navigator, I like to know the general direction of where I am going.One of the highlights of my week was being able to participate again in the National Theatre Of Scotland’s Five minute theatre’s project. Nts’s hashtag is “Theatre Without Walls”. A statement which is more than just lip service to them but an opportunity to involve more of Scotland.
I had participated last year and wrote “Safety Net” about my friens’s Bernie’s and my own experiences of attending a trampoline club for children on the autistic spectrum. Rosie and Amanda were amazing performers, and Clare from the libraries directed the piece. The result was a piece of theatre which everyone who has seen it is moved by. I was delighted to take part again this year and set about writing the piece.
I assembled my cast of a couple of comrades from the SSP, Andi and Neil and Hugh Hunter aka the GabiCabi who I met on twitter. Linz my daughter wanted to take part too so I set about writing about my piece. I had originally intended it to be called “Bedheads” and wrote it about the KNOW campaign I was involved in and what if we had occupied the hospital? I was pleased with it and sent it off to the actors. That week though fate intervened.
I have had the privilege to meet so many amazing people who have the same shared experience of having a member of the family who has additional support needs. One family is the amazing Adam and his mum and dad Paul and Zoe. Adam has very complex health needs which means intensive round the clock support. His mum and dad provide most of it with the backup of an intensive care nurse at night so they can sleep and for when Adam goes to school. Adam is an amazing gifted young man whose latest accolade is to be the winner of The Arts prize in the Young Scot Awards just last week. He loves going to school, and the rest of the school learn so much from him being there. Two weeks ago the health board told Zoe they could not provide a nurse so Adam couldn’t go to school
When you are a parent with a child with additional support needs, you choose your battles very carefully as it is exhausting to put your head above the parapet. Zoe with the support of other online groups started a campaign to make people aware of the injustice Adam was facing. It caught the attention of the press and has become a very successful online campaign. I wanted to do my bit and ofeered to use my words. So my five minute theatre became, “Let Child X Go To School.”.
We scheduled a couple of rehearsals. As usual life got in the way. Ryan stood in for Andi, Hugh got seriously deprived of sleep! Neil took time off from work and his election campaigning. We all stressed out. Yesterday came, the day of reckoning. Would we remember our lines? What could go wrong. Nothing did we are so grateful for the support of the National Theatre Of Scotland especially Marianne, Eva and Simon and Steph who recorded our show. The audience were taken down in an amazing lift to the space watched our show then travelled back up. The performance went well and the audience clapped in the right places. The prerecord will be shown on the 1st of May just after six as part of an evening of little five minute theatres.
Alberto Boal and his model of Theatre Of The Oppressed are an inspiration to me. It is why I’m a socialist too. I want to hear the voices of those not recognised by society. Theatre is such a powerful way of telling the different sides of the story. The National Theatre Of Scotland and their vision of a “Theatre Without Walls” is a radical one based on not passive audiences but a two way dialogue between the performers, writers and directors and their audiences. We have been inspired to start writing again and create a theatre group and who knows maybe a bit of theatre at a protest. So watch this space!. Thank you to everyone who has inspired , has supported us and helped us with the filming of Let Child X go to school. With a special mention to Glenburn Baptist Church and The Wynd Centre for great rehearsal spaces. More to come soon but definitely after the elections which I think will be a dramatic experience all of their own.