It’s no secret performing arts can do wonders for building confidence and allowing self-expression, but we wanted to explore the other benefits that may not be quite so obvious.
We spoke to some fantastic people involved in a range of performing arts about the perks from their perspective, and how it can impact the lives of people with and without disabilities. So, as they say in show business; sit back, relax and enjoy!
Tim Brown is the Arts Manager for Access Arts, an organisation that offers a range of performing arts workshops to people living with disability or disadvantage. Coming from a ballet and professional dance background, Tim says there is a lot to gain from getting involved in dance, drama, singing and music.
“People want to be as independent and expressive as they can be, so we just provide the support for them to do that,” he said.
“People want a safe and inclusive space where they can feel comfortable and confident, and really focus on their art.”
Tim said practice and discipline are essential and rewarding, and this applies to everyone.
“The arts do demand discipline; they demand that you do something at least every day. Whether that’s working on your fine motor skills, or stretching out, or warming up your vocal chords, you have to do it often otherwise it’s too hard,” he said.
But your discipline and practice always pays off… and not just in your art form.
“Working on these skills can translate to other areas of your life as well, like studying or travelling or doing something out of your comfort zone; anything that requires discipline or mobility,” said Tim.
“Then there’s the benefit of learning. You are always learning new techniques, learning what you like and don’t like, and learning about all the amazing things you can accomplish.
“I always look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with in the workshops – we have some really imaginative people in our Access Arts community!”
Tanya McCabe is part of the Access Arts Singers group and the Screech Arts Activ8 group. Tanya has been involved in creative and performing arts for as long as she can remember, and her long list of hobbies showcases her passion for the arts.
“My mum was a great painter, so maybe that’s where I get my creativity from,” said Tanya.
“Sitting at home is just so boring! I like to get out and have fun. When I am singing or in my drama group… I just thoroughly enjoy it.”
Another creative soul is Miranda Sherman who has been involved in CPL’s Screech Arts for nearly a year now. She is in the Actors Ensemble and the Dance Troupe, and loves having a space to express herself and feel accepted.
“I have a lot of fun at Screech. I’m just really happy I’m doing it,” Miranda said.
“I’m really working hard on flexibility and my timing with the dance routines at the moment.”
Miranda’s niece Jennifer Yuen says the routine and exercise is really good for Miranda, and she is learning the importance of practice.
“Practice is essential; it teaches you that you can improve at anything if you work hard. We are working with a Speech Pathologist at the moment and Miranda knows she needs to keep practising to get better, which is a skill she is learning with Screech,” Jennifer said.
“Then there’s the social side. Miranda is making friends and having fun. She is mixing with other people who also have Down syndrome, which is important to her to feel included.”
For 12-year-old Bella, it’s all about dance. Bella is new to the Screech Arts Dance Troupe and the After School Drama Program, but she’s no stranger to the performing arts. After seven years of dancing, Bella’s mum Cathy says she has seen huge improvement in Bella’s flexibility and coordination.
Long term, Bella sees dance and drama as a big part of her future.
“I think dance will be a part of Bella’s life for years to come,” Cathy said.
“She is very dedicated and serious about dance, so hopefully all her hard work will open up some doors for her in the future. It’s her dream to become a teacher at Do Dance Academy, it’s even listed as a goal in her NDIS plan!”
After hearing about all these fantastic experiences, it’s no surprise that people are flocking to accessible arts programs! So, whether you are an adult or a child, a beginner or a pro, living with or without a disability, there is a stage out there for everyone.
If you think Screech Arts or Access Arts could be for you, visit screecharts.org.au or accessarts.org.au.