DisabledDramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Mia, Daughters of Fortune – Live Art Bistro, Leeds

Director: Joyce Nga Yu Lee

Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood

Mind the Gap returns with Mia, Daughters of Fortune after last year’s successful production, Contained. Mind the Gap, a Bradford based disability Theatre Company, explores issues through the eyes of performers who have learning disabilities. Mia, Daughters of Fortune features four performers who explore learning disability and parenthood.

It is about Mia who has a learning disability and discovers she is pregnant. The story highlights how differently professionals view parents with learning disabilities and habitually assume they aren’t capable. With this attitude and from research done by the company including Dr Kate Theodore’s analysis it is believed that such parents aren’t “good enough” and have to fight to “prove” they are capable. 

This one hour show opens with a monologue by each of the performers, expressing how they feel about relationships and parenthood in general. The interactive show, staged in an intimate space, raises the perceptions in today’s society about learning disabilities and parenthood and how negatively judged such individuals are in their ability to have children and a family. It testifies, sadly, that stigma still exists today among individuals with disabilities and the general attitude seems that labelling of “inability” reigns rather than “ability”.

The show is entertaining, kinesthetic and hi-tech with creative acting, modern music, catchy songs, and provocative dance. An on-stage contestant quiz show, run by four of the performers, is staged and combats preconceptions and so-called idealised opinions of a wider society with audience interaction. It also looks at what practical and social support one needs and the power struggle among professionals for supporting parents with learning disabilities. The use of video conferencing works well where each of the performers appears on the stage’s television and the visual screenings complement the stage’s backdrop. Such technology links to the themes and issued raised with regards to conception, parenthood and disabilities and real-life video experiences are also shared.

The four performers; Alan Clay, Alison Colborne, Anna Gray, JoAnne Haines tell Mia’s story reflectively with heartfelt conviction. They do an excellent stellar performance in sharing Mia’s journey and supporting her every step of the way.

Mia, Daughters of Fortune is certainly empowering and a thought-provoking production and certainly makes one think. It reiterates that people with learning disabilities are as equal as everybody else, with or without a disability, and are capable making their own choices and decisions. They have just a much right to be parents as much as they were babies and children. The production is well received and Mind the Gap is doing exemplary work in raising awareness with learning disabilities and specifically focussing on the person, not the disability. It is another successful production.

Reviewed on 27th April 2018 | Image: Contributed

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Empowering and thought provoking

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