Thanks to funding from Canterbury League Club through the ClubGrants initiative, the ‘Art Can Do It’ program aims to bring participants with minor disabilities and mental health issues up to a level where they can work alongside professional performers!
The Art Can Do It program aims to provide a form of physical recreation to participants, build self-confidence and allow young people to express their creativity. The program is divided into two parts; training young people with disabilities to perform street theatre at community events such as the Haldon Street Festival and Carols in the Park; and workshops introducing participants to physical theatre, mime, dance and puppetry.
Asides from improving participants self-confidence, theatre work has elements of physical activity and it is an exercise in movement and co- ordination and the ability to repeat an action. The benefits of being involved with the arts are almost immediately noticeable. One can see it in the smiles of participants and in their growing enthusiasm to try more things and stretch themselves further. The participants often enter shy, uncertain and even reluctant and leave excited and enthusiastic.
Participants get to work out their bodies in an environment that is supportive and is less based on competition. They also will learn team working skills. Most importantly, they will learn they can get involved and can demonstrate the ability to overcome perceived obstacles associated with their circumstances.
Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club said “Disabilities shouldn’t be a barrier to enjoying performance arts; Canterbury is proud to sponsor a program that raises awareness of the arts in our community and the importance of everyone getting a fair go to try something new”
We don’t see actors with disabilities – we see actors with potential to achieve great things.