Clare is a project officer at Clickability. She’s a social worker with a background in Brain Injury and Mental Health. When she’s not talking all things Clickability, you can find her crocheting, riding her bike, singing with friends or reading terrible fantasy novels. 

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Open Doors Open Minds, an inclusive training program developed and presented by people with disabilities and Rebus Theatre. It was so different and great that I wanted to tell you all about it!

It was like nothing I’ve ever been involved in before. I felt confronted, empowered and engaged, and learned heaps about the difficulties that people with disabilities face day to day and how I have a role in changing that.

The program plays out in fully acted scenes, which feature common mistakes, acts of discrimination, and their effects. After the first run through, audience members can then replace characters and model ‘better’ behaviour.

Each actor skillfully played their part, showing in-depth understanding of their roles by improvising and responding on the spot to changes in the script. The process was all facilitated by Artistic Director Robin Davidson, who was artfully engaging, challenging and supportive of both the actors and the audience.

Each scenario was also researched in discussions with the community, and based on real experiences of people with disabilities. You can feel the truth in the scenes, share in the frustration of the characters, and then be part of the solution!

The scene that stuck in my mind was the (very real) scenario where they asked for a quote for public liability insurance for their performance. I had no idea that insurance agencies try to charge more to insure a performance just because an actor has a disability! By proving this broad thinking is simply community misunderstanding, Open Doors Open Minds demonstrated how this scenario could also be changed for the future.

This makes the audience the real stars – as they give it a go, perform on stage for the first time, and reflect on other people’s experiences. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we all walked away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of how we can make each others’ lives a little easier.

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