Ground breaking theatre at the Playhouse
By Christopher Vince
A review of Trisomy 21
A play written by Judith Johnson, directed by Annette Lidster and performed by the Razed Roof Theatre company & students from The Robert Barclay Academy
THE audience of the Harlow Playhouse were treated to truly ground breaking theatre on Thursday evening with Razed Roof’s performance of ‘Trisomy 21,’ which was specially written for them by playwright Judith Johnson. Trisomy 21, and no I didn’t know this before, is the extra chromosome that people with Down’s Syndrome have.
The play at its very core is about Down’s Syndrome performed by people with Down’s Syndrome. It gave the audience a unique perspective into the lives of not just those directly effected but also by their families and loved ones with some real life and very frank accounts. However, it’s about much more than that.
It’s about dealing with prejudice, it’s about inclusivity and most of all it’s about celebrating diversity.
The performance was sometimes hard hitting, particularly the scene depicting a Government PIP assessment, sometimes brought you close to tears, the scene in which Aaron talks about his experiences with bullying, and sometimes laugh out loud funny, no one will forget the dancing mice!
At the heart of any performance by such an inclusive theatre company it is about giving people the opportunity to do something that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do.
I publicly congratulate everyone who took part in the performance and who were responsible for making it possible, from the writer and director, the sixth form students from The Robert Barclay Academy who supported the Razed Roofers on stage, and gave some excellent acting and singing performances, but most of all to the Razed Roof cast themselves. Picking out individuals would be hard but I feel I should mention Emma Hutchins who read out the speech she actually gave to MPs in Parliament, and Kathy Budd who spent the majority of the performance on stage.
I left the Playhouse feeling a warm feeling of optimism but more than that I left with a message, that we should treat everyone in our society, including people with learning difficulties, with dignity and respect.
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