When asked what inspired this collaboration Svoboda explained, "When working in Miami I had the pleasure of working with a young girl named Nora who is autistic. She had been removed from regular school and sent to a school for people with disabilities. After 8 years of working on our summer theater program Nora is now attending a performing arts high school. Theater has the power to help people communicate despite language barriers or disabilities. It also brings people together as a team to create a piece of art. Unlike painting, or writing a novel, in order to create a piece of theater you have to have collaboration, it is why I love the art form, I knew having students collaborate with individuals with disabilities would help both groups to move past their difference and find common ground in working for a common goal."
Luxford described her feelings following the play," The final outcome left you feeling that you had witnessed something special; both the audience & the performers just knew they were a part of a grandeur scheme." When asked if they'd repeat a similar experience she offered," Oh, we're going to do this again, there's no doubt about it. As the rehearsals were winding down, the cast members, LLCS/Sunmount staff and ALCA staff were already planning next year's agenda."
Svoboda added, "We certainly hope to continue this program. The Arts Center has started the Living Able Series, which provides workshops and performance opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the Adirondack Region. This summer we will be conducting weekly workshops with consumers from Sunmount as well as hosting a performance by Flame, a rock band made up of individuals with disabilities."
This program was made possible with funds from the Local Capacity Building Initiative, a regrant program of the Arts In Education program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered locally by the Adirondack Arts in Education Partnership, a program of the Depot Theatre in Westport, New York.
For more information on the Living Able Series, call Stephen Svoboda at Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, 352-7715 or check out www.adirondackarts.org