Since its establishment in 1993, No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability has continued to explore the concepts of theatre, disability, ability and artistic community. They are one of South Australia’s most outstanding creative companies, refusing to rest on hard-won laurels, and choosing instead to keep pushing boundaries, exploring art-making and exploding myths around disability.
Their 2018 season launch last week showcased some of the incredible work they will be bringing to us this year, not least of which is wonderfully titled I Forgot to Remember to Forget.
Glam were lucky enough to be able to sit in on rehearsals for this work and then chat to artistic director, Alirio Zavarce. Where does the work come from? How does collaborative theatre like this get its beginnings?
When I first became artistic director, I did a consultation: I came to every workshop and asked all the participants about their hopes, needs and wants. What do THEY want to create? And from there I developed themes.
After this initial consultation, Zavarce’s office was covered in sticky notes, from which he had to start pulling the artistic threads that could be knitted into performance pieces.
A lot of participants had a memory problem: so I pulled that team out, separately. We started from a biographical point-of-view-, did a lot of film interviews and so forth. Then it’s about what participants are comfortable sharing with an audience. And we are looking at how do we actually remember things, and how do we forget things, which is something we all struggle with. But then we add in issues of head injury or stroke or mental illnesses and medications. So that was the monster! And out of that monster we decide how we are going to shape it. How do we make something that is extreme very accessible to an audience?
Accessibility has been an under-current of No Strings work: accessible not just to participants, but to audiences. And this year, they have the chance to offer their particular brand of beautiful, thought-provoking, moving theatre, to a wider audience.
No Strings has been invited to attend the True Colours Festival in Singapore, Zavarce is over-the-moon about this opportunity, where the world premiere of I Forgot to Remember to Forget will be presented in partnership with Singapore International Foundation.
Oh Singapore is so exciting! This the first festival in the Asia-pacific region, for artists with disabilities. We are going to be working with Very Special Theatrix: I will be going up there soon for a week, to develop some material, and then the company here will respond to that: that might be in film version or we might take some performers, depending on money! During the festival we will be rehearsing with the company, and this work will be showcased during the festival. The second aspect is doing the world premiere of the work we are doing right now. It’s a great opportunity for the ensemble to meet other performers, do workshops, talk about the process and so forth. The third aspect of the festival is that I’m presenting at the conference, on theatre-making and running workshops. After the festival we hope to continue the collaboration: bring actors from Singapore here and take actors back there.
This is an incredible opportunity, not just for the company, but for South Australia, to show-case the work that we produce. In order to take full advantage of this invitation, the company needs $90000. They have already gathered $35000, so they now need to raise $55000 in 55 days! They are doing this through crowd-funding site Chuffed. Even $5 can make a huge difference, is tax deductible, and will get you a signed photo of the cast of I Forgot. We are hoping that our wonderful Glam readers will get on board with this outstanding opportunity.
The True Colours Festival is from 23-25th March in Singapore. Check out the site here.
Learn more about our own No Strings Attached company here.
Interviewed by Tracey Korsten