I met Jacob Taurins when we sang in a choir. Jacob is a musical composer who has Multiple Sclerosis. He was 20 years old when he learned he was sick. He had to stay in hospital many times. Jacob plays the piano and studied music at university. He wrote music for a string quartet that was performed last year. Jacob is influenced by the composer Bach. He also enjoys jazz and African drumming. He creates different types of music. He does not like to repeat himself. Jacob uses a computer with a mouse designed to assist people with a physical disability.
Finding a suitable busking location is always a challenge
Christopher Simms sings and plays guitar. He is blind. He often performs at Victoria Market in Melbourne. He has tried many other locations in the city. Finding a good location to sing is a challenge. Christopher says he can often get drowned out by others. He likes hearing people enjoying his music. He has also heard people stopping others from taking his money. Christopher says busking has helped improve his skills. He encourages people to give it a try.
Simon Laherty and Brian Tilley in Ganesh Vs the Third Reich. Image: Jeff Busby
I recently saw the play Ganesh versus the Third Reich. But I did not enjoy it. I could not hear what the actors said. Back to Back Theatre gave me a script to read. But I could not read the script while the play was being performed. I have attended plays with live captions. It was an unforgettable experience. My partner said it was the first time she had heard me laugh at the same time as the rest of the audience. There are millions of Deaf and hearing-impaired Australians. We should be able to enjoy live theatre.
Fog Theatre is a drama group for people with a disability. It started in 1991 in St Kilda. The members love playing music. They also like to act and dance. Fog recently performed a show called Forest of Gongs. It was a great show. After the show the performers enjoyed meeting the audience.
close up of someone playing electric guitar + drummer
Some smaller pubs are fantastic
It can be hard for people who use wheelchairs to see music concerts. Some places do not have ramps, lifts or accessible toilets. Small pubs can be great because you can get close to the band. At some buildings you can use the goods lift or get in through the building next door. But it is often hard to see at a larger venue when other people are standing up or wheelchair spaces are a long way from the stage. Many buildings now have toilets that people in a wheelchair can use. But you should check with the venue before you leave home.
I am a professional DJ. DJ stands for disc jockey. I play music for people at parties. It is a great passion of mine. It all started six years ago. I was given some equipment. I played with the equipment for hours every day. I started my own business. It has been a success. I play at birthdays and weddings and other events. I would also really like to play at nightclubs. But the DJ booths are always inaccessible to wheelchair users like me. I hope that can change in future.
A woman standing with her arms crossed in a large shed surrounded by smoke
"Theatre" sign in lights.
Rawcus is a group of actors who perform regular shows. Some of the members of Rawcus have a disability. Rawcus began in 2000 and has performed many successful shows, including one with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. They also run workshops for people to learn about acting. Their next big show is called Small Odysseys. The actors say they want to challenge themselves and make something special.
Some band members of Staff Benda Bilili play homemade musical instruments
Staff Benda Bilili are a band of people with disabilities. They come from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Their first album is called Tres Tres Fort. Members of the band are homeless. They live at the city zoo. They use homemade wheelchairs. They play homemade musical instruments. The songs on their album are about issues important to the band members. The songs discuss the rights of people with a disability. They also explore housing and African independence. The album was recorded at the zoo. The songs make you want to dance.
Two young women sit on a bench looking bored in the play Food Court.
Food Court, starring Nicki Holland and Rita Halabarec. Photo: Jeff Busby
Back to Back has made successful theatre shows for over 20 years. The actors in their shows are people with a disability. Back to Back won a $25,000 award for brave writing. They used the money to work on another bold new show. The actors say they enjoy working on new ideas for shows and performing for other people. The company's aim is to make the best art they can.
400 people danced in Federation Square. Image: Paul Dunn
Have you ever seen a big crowd of people suddenly appear and begin dancing? A group of 400 people recently danced in Melbourne's Federation Square. Surprising performances in public places are called flash mobs. Many of the performers at Federation Square were people with a disability. Most were strangers to each other. But they danced together beautifully. It was a real achievement getting so many people together. It was also very emotional for the dancers and spectators.