21 May 2024

Theatre experience to make you laugh, think and laugh again

| Jacqueline Lyons
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People acting out a play

The Art of Disruption aims to show the audience the behind-the-scenes drama of a show that must go on. Photos: Rebus Theatre.

A group of “exceptionally fabulous people” are joining together to bring Canberrans a performance they will never forget.

Since 2020, the Rebus Theatre’s Flair program has seen dozens of people living with disabilities come together, pitch their ideas and create an unforgettable night of entertainment.

Rebus is an inclusive company using theatre and other arts to stimulate healing and provoke social and environmental change. Working with people with lived experience of marginalisation, the team creates innovative, powerful performance in diverse contexts.

Director Melissa Gryglewski says the latest production The Art of Disruption is unlike anything anyone has seen before.

“We get together as many people as we can and we play games, exchange ideas and play out different drama scenarios,” Melissa says. “After that we put everything together in a play.”

READ ALSO Systems and Sanity by Rebus Theatre

Leadership and power provide the key themes of The Art of Disruption, with the actors and production crew having long discussions about those living with disability in relation to people in power, or gaining any power of their own.

“We have got a group of some of the best people to come up with plenty of ideas for this play,” Melissa says.

“People living with disability are classically denied power and leadership, but we’ve managed to turn that fact into a performance that is very funny, relatable and charming.

“What I love about working with this particular group of people is that they are so fabulously neurodiverse and come up with so many lateral ideas that the average person might not think of.”

Actors pose around a tree

The cast of a previous Rebus Theatre production ‘Systems Insanity’. Photo: Rebus Theatre.

Previous shows from the Flair program have received rave reviews about their unique performances, with The Beauty Thief contributing to Rebus’ Canberra Critics Circle award for Theatre in 2021.

Flair program actor Leanne Shutt says the actors love the experience of putting together and performing The Art of Disruption.

“We encourage each other to feature our strengths on the stage of theatre, to flow onto the stage of life,” Leanne says.

READ ALSO Rebus Theatre’s mixed-ability cast presents an audiovisual feast that’s out of this world

Melissa says Rebus works tirelessly to help those living with a disability to feel more included not only in the world of theatre, but society in general.

“Our mentality is less about the diagnosis that people have been given and more about the fact that they have gone through things that a lot of people haven’t and how those experiences can benefit society.”

The Art of Disruption runs from 30 May to 1 June at The ACT Hub, 14 Spinifex St Kingston. Tickets can be purchased via ACT Hub.

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