I met the band the Amplified Elephants and their artistic director James Hullick. James started the band six years ago from an arts program for people with an intellectual disability. I went and watched the band practice at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. There was laughter and jokes. It was wonderful. James says the band is popular because they have an honest and open relationship with their audience. They have a new CD that will be available in January. The Amplified Elephants will play shows in November at Federation Square. All the shows are free and wheelchair accessible.
Moving away from theatre where you sit, listen and watch.
Maysa is a Melbourne artist who has a vision impairment. She recently had a theatrical show called Nest at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. In her show the audience walks through an area where they experience the forms of hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Maysa asks the audience to describe objects to her. She wants them to imagine the world from her eyes. Maysa's creativity is influenced by her Egyptian and Italian background, and her disability.
I am pleased I can see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform at Hamer Hall again. The concert hall in Melbourne was closed for two years. It's been renovated and re-opened. Inside the concert hall, the new lighting in the ceiling is beautiful. Hamer Hall now also meets international accessibility standards. There are more places for people who use wheelchairs and more accessible toilets with Braille. I was lucky enough to be at one of the opening nights of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was spectacular. Hamer Hall now faces the Yarra River and the city. It's for everyone to enjoy.
Owning and running a business isn't easy. You must be hard-working and creative. You also need to communicate well. Some Deaf people may feel disadvantaged in selling their business idea. They have to find ways to communicate their ideas. I spoke with Lisa and Asphyxia who are two amazing Deaf women. Both own and run a business. Lisa travels around Queensland teaching Australian Sign Language, art and drama workshops and yoga classes. Asphyxia is a performer and has a puppet show. Sheperforms all around Australia. Internet technology like email and Skype help them to work.
I confess to preferring CDs over listening to music on gadgets, such as iTunes. Despite the disadvantages of CDs, I like having the physical product. I'm also a fan of community radio. I find it very refreshing compared to commercial radio. I have a lot of fun preparing and doing my radio show "Don't go into that barn". It's a show where I play music not often played on other radio stations. I use music stored on my computer to prepare the show but use CDs at the radio station. I think the show is good because it's different to other shows.
Since high school I have enjoyed being involved in theatre. At school I enjoyed writing and performing. When I started university I became involved in German language theatre. Eight years ago I injured my spinal cord and thought I might never perform again. I remained friends with the director of the theatre company from my university. He always encouraged me to return to theatre. In 2009 I helped produce a play. Last month I translated a play from German into English. I was then invited to perform in this play. I managed to conquer my fears and returned to the stage.
Tim Ferguson is a comedian, writer, actor and teacher. He was part of the comedy group the Doug Anthony All Stars . He has appeared on television many times. He also teaches comedy and screenwriting. Tim has multiple sclerosis. It is a disease that affects a person's brain and spinal cord. When Tim first learned he was ill he didn't tell anyone. He says it was nobody's business to know. Tim says he has a good life. He is happy in his work and relationships. He thinks we should try and be positive about life because it is a miracle.
Red is a play about the artist Mark Rothko. It is playing at the Melbourne Theatre Company. Alkinos Tsilimidos is the director. Colin Friels plays Mark Rothko. André de Vanny plays his assistant Ken. The play has many interesting ideas. Rothko has mixed feelings about painting murals for the Four Seasons restaurant. He wants people to feel an emotional reaction to his paintings. The play relies strongly on conversations between Rothko and Ken. But it doesn't have enough dramatic tension. The performances are good but I don't think everyone will like Red .
Tribes play Photocredit: MTC, photographer Jeff Busby
Billy with parents Christopher and Ruth. (Image MTC/Jeff Busby)
I went to the theatre to see Tribes. It is a play about a family. One of the sons, Billy, is deaf. He goes through struggles with his family. The play examines many ideas about deafness. There were many reasons why I enjoyed the play. One reason was because the play was accessible. On the stage were two flat screens where you could read the words of the play. I could read the words of each character as they spoke. It was a simple idea that worked perfectly. I recommend the play to everyone.
I went to the rock concert The Wall that played in Melbourne this month. The concert was based on an album by the band Pink Floyd. It was performed by Roger Waters. He was a member of Pink Floyd and wrote most of The Wall. The concert was a spectacular stage show. A wall covered the width of the stage. It was 40-feet high. The show and songs are about problems in society. But it was still a positive show. It made you feel good. I left the show feeling I saw something special.