Calgary Fringe Festival, Calgary; Linda Blackwell

Uploaded by AccessibleMedia on 12.09.2012

ANNOUNCER: From our community to yours, this is...
Oh, hi!
I'm Linda Blackwell with Accessible Media,
and we're in Inglewood for the 7th annual Fringe Festival,
and I'm off to go see a play!
The one I've selected is called "The Three Ls."
ALL: We are Inside Out! Ooh!
LINDA: Inside Out Theatre is a group of mixed-ability performers,
making their first appearance at Calgary's Fringe Festival.
"The Three Ls" stand for:
listen, learn, laugh.
Andrew Torry is the group's artistic director.
ANDREW: The idea behind "The Three Ls" was the group got together,
and they wanted to explore the idea of what we do
in response to the hurt that we encounter in our lives.
Good morning!
Why are you late again?
ANDREW: There's one scene that takes place on a bus.
One person on the bus is just verbally abusive and obnoxious,
and one person comes onto the bus in a wheelchair.
And this obnoxious person says,
"Well, this person shouldn't be allowed on a bus.
He should be on a handi-bus. You can't ride the bus."
This is a story that happened to one of our performers.
Why is he on the bus?
He shouldn't be on this bus!
I'm telling you people, why is he on this bus?
He should be on a handi-bus, and I mean it!
I'm doing a bus scene. I'm a mean, mean lady.
LINDA: Diane Heemskerk has a developmental disability.
She joined the Inside Out Theatre project in 1992.
The group was started by the behaviour support team
at the University of Calgary.
The team recognized a need
for accessible theatre-training opportunities
for people with disabilities.
They understood that participation
in the dramatic arts helps to increase functional literacy,
gain self-confidence and allows participants
to experience the pleasure of creativity.
DIANE: I can look at people now.
I couldn't look at people,
and I couldn't do going on stage like this.
I was too frightened to go on stage.
Now, I like it!
I like the people; I like everything.
Michele Gallant is the festival's director
and producer.
We have 34 different indoor theatre artist performers
for this year's Calgary Fringe.
They come from all over,
and I would probably say our farthest-flung one
is from Melbourne, Australia.
And then, we have 12 local artists from here in Calgary
that are presenting at the Calgary Fringe.
So, all told, 34 artists from all across the globe.
You get, like, performance poetry.
You get puppetry, you get mask artworks.
You get drama, comedy.
I mean, it's just anything that you want for any kind of taste,
you can find it at the Fringe.
And with it being located in Inglewood,
all of our venues are within walking distance.
So, the furthest walk would probably be like 10 minutes,
and we try and stagger all our show times
so that if one show is sold out,
or if they're too late to come and see a show,
there's like another show that's going to start
in 10 or 15 minutes down the road.
I was so excited when the Inside Out Theatre
made the lottery draw, because for me,
it just shows and showcases to patrons that, you know what?
People with mixed abilities or with special needs
have as much to contribute as other people,
and to be able to be--
be able to showcase their talent
and what they're able to present onstage,
I just think it's phenomenal.
LINDA: Inside Out artistic director, Andrew Torry.
ANDREW: When I found out that we were accepted
into the Fringe Festival,
I felt very excited for the performers
because it was another opportunity for them
to take their creative work
and share it with, um, with a wider audience.
I feel very strongly that people with disabilities
need the opportunity to share their stories and ideas
within that cultural dialogue that goes on in Calgary.
The opportunity to take part in this festival is very rewarding,
because it creates a platform for these performers
to share their stories and their ideas with an audience.
LINDA: For Diane Heemskerk and the rest of her comrades,
it's a chance to listen, learn and laugh.
Oh, it gave me confidence. It gave me hope.
You know, some of us, like us today,
we're handicapped, and we can't be a movie star.
We can't go out.
But this, we prove ourself that we can act.
There are many barriers that keep people with disabilities
from participating in the arts.
My hope is that Inside Out Theatre
can take down some of those barriers.
WOMAN: # You too deserve respect #
LINDA: For Accessible Media, I'm Linda Blackwell.
# Take time to reflect #
(Audience applauding)