Last June an amazing group of people with learning difficulties started to create a theater performance at St James Cavalier Center of Creativity in Valetta, Malta.
On the first day Belgian Director Stefan Perceval starts by saying that he wants to mix the performances of the different countries. The subject will be ‘meeting’. What does ‘meeting’ mean to you? Can anyone find an image that shows what ‘meeting’ means to you? One participant, Aldi explains: ‘Meeting means ‘friendship to me’– ‘Okay’, asks Stefan, ‘How can we make an image of ‘friendship’? Who wants to be friends with Aldi? Several participants join in.
In the afternoon, Stefan Perceval continues to collect the raw material of the participants. Some participants have a strong idea of what they want to perform (stories, songs, poems, dance…), other participants are more shy and need a little push to perform. Stefan Perceval tries to find a way to integrate all the ideas and to involve as many participants as possible. During this afternoon, differences in points of view and some tensions emerge, also due to the tight time frame.
At the end of the first day all artists receive an official invitation to meet and greet on a garden party at the British High Commissioner’s in celebration of the Magna Carta.
The second day is the day of the show! After a morning of final rehearsals parents come up to see how the artists put all the pieces together. At the end of the day Art-is welcomes Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Malta.
The Disability Arts Festival is the final meeting of the two-year project called ART-is which is funded with support from the European Commission through Grundtvig Partnership under the Lifelong Learning Programme. It brings together several European partners, who are artists with learning difficulties and arts organisations from different European countries!
Directed by Stefan Perceval and Marit Stocker. Music coordination by Alex Otterlei. Tekst written by Kris De Visscher. Video directed, camera & editing by Anneke Verschave. Subtitles by Giuseppe Cardia, Alessandro Castaldo and Rοdrigo Gonzalez.
Thanks to all the organisators and participants at the festival including The Opening Doors Board, Directors and volunteers, The Opening Doors Theatre Group, The Opening Doors Dance Group, (Joanne Butterworth, Justin Spiteri, Kevin White, Leanne Fenech, Sarah Linda Polidano, Brian Gauci, Sandra Mifsud, Nicole Cuschieri, Charlotte Stafrace, Janitha Stubbs, Anthony Attard, Lou Ghirlando, Anna Formosa, Rachel Calleja, Ilona Attard, David Borg, Veronika Stivala, Darryl Formosa, Coryse Borg, Zoe Camilleri, Stefania Cateranella, Valentina Azzopardi, Martina Georgiana, Estzer Joo, Jason Abdilla, Laura Musicat, Edward Tabone Valetta, Redeemer Chetcuti, Andrew Spiteri Debono, Caroline Bajada, Steve White, David Bezzina, Priscilla Vella, Josephe Fenech, Maryjo Abela, Daniel Micallef, Silvana Cassar, Christine Farrugia, Jean Paul Fenech, Peter Fenech, Maria Mifsud, Saviour Pace, Andria Spiteri).
The Creative Ways Partners in Spain (Ana Varela Vizcaino, Maria del Carmen Parapar Garcia, Jose Manuel Ulla Sanmiguel, Jose Vicente Otero Ferandez, Sabela Lopez Vazquez, Catuxa Pereira Cacheda),
in Germany (Axel Frund, Alexander Braun, Karin Poad, Tristan Poad, Alexander Poad, Caroline Mielke, Lia Mielke, Tanja Boklubas),
the Art-is Partners of Belgium (Evi Hermans, Els Govers, Jessica Cuyvers, Yvette Van Hees, Mariano Ranuncoli, Ben Mannaerts, Fons De Block, Marlene Stans, Anny Camps, An Verstraeten, Gerda Cox, Sara Plessers, Peter Bosmans, Alex Otterlei, Marit Stocker, Stefan Perceval, Kris Visscher),
of Finland (Sanne Tornikosti, Ossi Peuraharju, Sari Hiltunen, Niina Perander), Iceland (lfhildur Stefansdottir, Svandis Ragna Sigurdardottir, Olafur Hauksson, Sigudur Gislason, Gudlaug E Jonatansdottis, Erla Bjork Sigmundsdottis, Axel Benediktsson, Larus Sigurdsson),
of Poland (Katarzyna Diana Marek, Aleksandra Stenka, Patryk Jozwik, Marta Powlowska, Katarzyna Gontarczyk, Jadwiga Luczak),
of Turkey (Umit Cevre, Erhan Ariturk, Cahit Ergun, Mahir Okay, Bayram Erkol, Fatih Ariturk, Nedim Dincklan, Selami Cetinkol, Cuneyt Canbolat, Ferhat Kokolan, Mehmet Sami Cetinkol)
and out of UK, StayUp late and Heart and Soul (Susannah Hall, Mikey Reynolds, Fraser Caygill, Berhana Wells, Daniel Wakeford, Maria Stacey, Paul Richard, Barry Wakeford, Carol Wakeford, Madeline Denny, Kate Ogden, Lizzie Moore, Mark Williams, Richard Pheonix, Catherine Dunne, Tilley Hughes and the piggie Dell, Lizzie Emeh, Wayne Taylor and Aldean Blair).