Performances of special talents
Estelle Kaulima and Jade Laughton love the creative outlet of performing to an audience.
The pair are among 150 intellectually and physically disabled performers showcasing their talents in the InterACT Festival this weekend.
They will be presenting Angels and Demons with a group of 20 other members from Auckland-based company Interacting Theatre.
Estelle, a 21-year-old from Glen Eden, is autistic and at times suffers from OCD and anxiety. She plays Steve, one of the lead characters in the show.
She enjoys performing as it allows her to transform into different characters and portray different ideas.
"If you can convey it well enough, you can bring a character into any sort of world," she says.
"I like that without anybody knowing who you are, you can be whoever you want to be. As long as you make it believable, it can make for a pretty good performance."
Seventeen-year-old Jade attends Henderson High School and has Down syndrome. She plays the role of Elvis for which she sings and dances in the show. Being a keen hip-hop dancer, Jade enjoys singing and dancing to an audience.
"I like being an actress and want to be famous one day," she says.
"I love songs, and sometimes make them up in my head."
Angels and Demons explores the idea of a parallel universe and follows the storyline of Adam who goes shopping at The Warehouse where he finds himself faced with a new world full of angels and demons. Steve finds Adam and together they must make it home safely before Dracula, the king of demons, captures them.
Creative director of InterACT and drama therapist Paula Crimmens says the performers were intrigued by the idea of an alternative reality.
"Everyone's fascinated by the idea of good versus evil and angels versus demons," she says.
"They are archetypal themes, and a lot of the performers have watched supernatural stuff on television so they find it fun to play."
Ms Crimmens established Interacting Theatre in 2006. The charity provides drama therapy and performing opportunities for people with special needs.
She was inspired to organise a disability arts festival here after seeing a similar one in Melbourne.
Both Estelle and Jade joined Interacting Theatre six months ago and are looking forward to performing in the festival.
Estelle has contributed many of her ideas into the storyline
"I'm proud that something I have had input in is going to be shown in front of a lot of people."
InterACT will take place for its second year at Corban Estate Arts Centre, October 25 to 27, from 10am to 4pm.
Angels and Demons will be presented on October 26.
More than 150 performers from throughout New Zealand will take the stage, presenting a range of talents including a circus, facepainting, singing and film-making classes.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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