NO DRA­MAS FOR LO­CAL AC­TORS

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Shane Ni­chols

TWO short plays, cre­ated by cast mem­bers with var­i­ous dis­abil­i­ties, didn’t take long to per­form at the Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre in Port Dou­glas but the show was three years in the mak­ing.

Do­ing Drama be­gan with a govern­ment grant and was then taken un­der the ban­ner of Child and Par­ent Sup­port at Port Dou­glas Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre. Sup­port worker and drama teacher Ni­cole Carn­aby worked for three years on this project to put some lo­cal young people with dis­abil­i­ties on to the stage. It was a com­plete suc­cess.

The drama group pro­vided a for­mat for people with var­i­ous chal­lenges to prac­tise life skills such as com­mu­ni­ca­tion, reading emo­tions and body lan­guage as well as build­ing self-es­teem and con­fi­dence. All of these fac­tors feed back into their real world ex­pe­ri­ences.

“From this pro­gram we’ve had some people go out and do job in­ter­views in the main­stream work­force, on their own, and land a job. We’ve had others per­form for the first time, over­com­ing se­vere stage fright. One danced in front of hun­dreds of people. An­other spoke at a na­tional dis­abil­ity con­fer­ence in front of hun­dreds.”

An­drea Gard of Moss­man came upon the con­cept of act­ing as a pos­i­tive for people chal­lenged by a dis­abil­ity. She ob­tained the grant money and Ms Carn­aby took on the project, which num­bered around eight people ini­tially.

Once this grant work was com­pleted, The Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre and Ms Carn­aby con­tin­ued with the project which cul­mi­nated in the per­for­mance on June 29.

Par­ents, fam­ily and friends gath­ered in the Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre to watch the re­sults of lots and lots of hard work by the ac­tors and the pro­duc­ers.

The plays had wit, hu­mour and in one, a good de­gree of drama and con­flict. “It’s their work, and their skills,” Ms Carn­aby said.

One par­ent, Selina Maf­fey, was over­flow­ing with praise for the pro­gram. Her daugh­ter, An­gel­ica, had un­der­gone ex­treme car­diac surgery only a few weeks be­fore the per­for­mance, but re­mem­bered her lines per­fectly.

“We’d like the com­mu­nity to know how great Ni­cole has been to achieve this and what they have all achieved,” she said.

This will be the last Do­ing Drama ac­tiv­ity un­der the ban­ner of Port Dou­glas Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Net­work and ef­forts are un­der way to find a way to con­tinue the pro­gram.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Ac­tors with dis­abil­i­ties cel­e­brat­ing their suc­cess­ful show in Port Dou­glas

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