Hello everyone, I’m Angela and I’m a 20-year-old performer, writer, and advocate for inclusion in the performing arts. I have Down Syndrome.
I have always loved performing arts. From the time I moved to Malta in 2013, I did classes in musical theatre in the School of Performing Arts, until I turned 18. After that it was difficult to continue as I couldn’t get into the companies for serious performers. I think this is a problem for people with disabilities as to reach the standard needed, we must work harder than most people do. There is more extra effort needed, like with speech therapy when it comes to lines.
I joined the Opening Doors theatre group for adults with learning disabilities in 2019. It was different for me as I had never been in a group where there were only persons with disabilities, and I was the youngest. I was used to being in a mainstream setting and I wasn’t too comfortable being in a separated group. At this time, I spent a 3-week Erasmus placement at an inclusive theatre called Chickenshed in London and it really made me realise that mixed ability theatres can really work, so my aim became to make Opening Doors inclusive. Now I’m very proud to say that inclusion in the arts is slowly happening in Malta.
In 2021 we had our very first mixed ability performances in Malta. The first one was Is-Sigra tat-Tin (The Fig Tree) where some of the members from Opening Doors took part along with three guest performers who didn’t have a disability. In November 2022 I took part in another mixed ability performance where me and a few of the members from Opening Doors took part in the Ziguzajg festival for Children and Youths in a performance called Automaniacs. I will always be amazed by my directors Toni Attard and Douglas Comely for treating me as a serious performer, especially with the parts that they gave me and the exposure that they have given me.
I feel that I have come a very long way from when I first started at Opening Doors in Autumn 2019. I think taking part in Is Sigra Tat Tin and Automaniacs really helped me to recognise my abilities and to fully accept myself and appreciate all the great friends I have at Opening Doors. I’m glad to be part of the Opening Doors family. I also feel proud about how Opening Doors has changed, we have begun to host more mixed ability workshops for Dance, Music and Theatre groups. Opening Doors also promotes their members to take part in other activities. For example, through OD I auditioned and was selected to be part of the Avaru Inclusive Sensory TV show for kids where we now we have a mixed-ability cast.
Is -Siġra Tat Tin is being performed again between the 02-05 June at Spazju Kreattiv – Hope to see you there!