Auckland Fringe play to flip perceptions about disability
30 January 2020
An inclusive cast of performers with and without disabilities will take to TAPAC’s stage to showcase a new work by Charlotte Nightingale at Auckland Fringe from 28 February to 1 March.
The Incredible and Glorious World According to The Fitzroys was written to provide roles for disabled performers – in particular for young actor Daniel Nielson, who has autism. The show aims to flip perceptions of disability and provide a positive insight into life outside the box.
Daniel plays the lead role of Liam Fitzroy, a teenage boy with autism and ADHD.
“Daniel brings something unique and wonderful to this work,” Charlotte Nightingale says. “His connection to the role gives it so much more meaning than if it were played by a person who doesn’t identify as having autism.”
With a mishmash of narrative, music, dance and multi-sensory storytelling, The Incredible and Glorious World According to The Fitzroys takes the audience on a journey that is as unique as its cast.
Millie is a single mother of Liam. Their world is unconventional, to say the least. Liam struggles to “fit in” and constant calls from the school principal mean life inside the box is tricky.
Outside the box
But outside the box is a different story. It is extraordinary and filled with thrilling tales of mystery, magic and mythical beings.
Playwright and performer Charlotte Nightingale also works as the General Manager for Touch Compass, New Zealand’s leading inclusive dance company. Disability is literally in Charlotte’s DNA. As a woman with a chromosome difference, she is part of a diverse and unique family having both paternal grandparents and a son with disabilities.
“I am forever grateful for living a life through this lens,” she says. “The only negatives I have ever seen are those imposed by society’s perceptions of disability. My life really has been glorious, like Liam and Millie’s.
“I hope this work will enable non-disabled audiences to get a greater understanding of how our lives are – at the same time enabling disabled audiences to experience something that resonates with their own life experiences.”
This work is the inaugural season for Glass Ceiling Arts Collective, a new organisation creating work for and by diverse communities. The work is directed and choreographed by Jeremy Hinman, who is currently choreographing the Amici production of Mary Poppins. His credits include National Tour of Cats, Priscilla Queen of The Desert for Showbiz Christchurch and Chicago at The Court Theatre.
A cast of 15 performers with and without disabilities includes Charlotte Nightingale (Linda Burgen - Shortland Street, Tanya, Mamma Mia), Adam Burrell (City of a Hundred Lovers, KRd Strip, Lydia Lunchbox - Shortland Street), Katie Fullard (Fleshies, Legacy Project), Sally Brady (Be More Chill, Oddly Even) and Alisha McLennan Marler (Attitude Award Winner, Touch Compass Company Dancer).
The Incredible and Glorious World According to The Fitzroys plays at TAPAC at 6pm. 28, 29 February and 1 March. Suitable for audiences age 13+ (Some strong language). Book at www.tapac.org.nz
With support from Auckland Council Creative Communities