The Mixed Abilities Ensemble performance training program was an initiative of Accessible Arts and Powerhouse Youth Theatre. Twelve people with and without a disability met every Saturday for 15 weeks to train in performance making, movement and vocal skills.
The program was funded by the Mantana Foundation, Fairfield City Council and Accessible Arts. Facilitators were sourced and a flier developed which called out for participants with and without a disability to take part in this unique training program.
Following are the workshop plans from the training program that was held at CabraVale Leisure Centre from May to July 2008. These workshop plans are specifically from weeks 1-7 as this was where each Saturday was divided into the aforementioned three sections. Weeks 8-15 were spent devising a short piece to be shown on the final workshop days to family and friends.
The performance workshops were conducted by Powerhouse Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director, Claudia Chidiac (with two guests spots by Alison Richardson from Accessible Arts), the movement workshops were conducted by movement artist and facilitator, Angela Hill and the voice workshops by singer, actor and facilitator, Aimee Falzon.
The aim in presenting these workshop plans is for those unfamiliar with what an integrated performance training program may consist of to gain awareness into the process and how practitioners work with an integrated group. It is also for those looking for new ideas to use in their own workshops and to reaffirm that working with an integrated group is not all about reinventing the wheel but about sometimes having to think outside the square and adapt and modify exercises and activities that you may already be doing so they are able to be engage a group with diverse needs.
The participants of this training program then became the Mixed Abilities Ensemble (MAE) who, in the second half of 2008, worked together on the creative development stage of the major production, Hard Daze and then reformed in 2009 to continue devising & ultimately perform in the full scale production.