Thomas Banks

A portrait photo of Thomas Banks
Thomas Banks

I have a mild case of cerebral palsy, but I'm a very keen writer. At 16, I self-published my own book about living with a disability. Now I want to become a journalist. I have completed work experience at different newspapers around Victoria. I have also worked for the Victorian Government's Youth Central website as a roving reporter.

I particularly enjoy writing about theatre and film. One of the highlights of my reporting career so far was interviewing celebrities on the red carpet at the TV Week Logie Awards, and I would love the opportunity to do it again.

Thomas Banks's articles

Two people dancing on stage in theatrical costumes
City of Voices

Weave and Movement Theatre - Movement and Dance for all abilities

Weave Movement Theatre is one of Victoria's premier movement and dance companies and works with a range of people with and without disabilities. The company is led by Janice Florence who lives as a paraplegic, but she has worked in the areas of dance and movement for several years. She has worked and had residences with Karen Nelson, Diverse Dance in the USA , Touchdown and CanDoCo in the UK , all of which have contributed to her professional practice as a dance artist.
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Characters Bluey and Julian shake hands, in the background are projected line drawings of a laneway.
Glimpse

Catching the eye of a total stranger. (Image Jason Chatfield)

I went to see a show called Glimpse at a theatre venue in Melbourne. It's about the lives of 8 different characters. It's about how talking to a stranger can lead to something more meaningful. It talks about issues of homelessness, isolation, alcohol and divorce within relationships. I was able to relate to some of the themes. I highly recommend this play.
3 comments - last comment on 07/12/2012
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An empty theatre with the photo taken from the raised stage.
theatre2

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.
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Andy Lee, Hamish Blake and Thomas Banks.
Thomas, Hamish & Andy final

On the red carpet with Hamish and Andy.

The 2012 TV Week Logies were held on Sunday night in Melbourne. The well-known and popular night recognises and awards people who work in television. This year, special guests from overseas included the British boy band One Direction. I was on the red carpet to talk to celebrities as they arrived at the awards. I asked some confronting questions. I wanted to know 'Why aren't there any people with disabilities represented on television?' Most celebrities said people with disabilities should be on television. This opinion was shared by the night's Gold Logie winner Hamish Blake.
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A netball entering a netball ring.
netball entering netball ring

Netball was played at the games.

The 2012 Australian Deaf Games were held in Geelong in January. Some of the athletes were from overseas. Athletes from Samoa and Fiji competed in the games for the first time. About 18 sports are played. They include swimming, beach volleyball and netball. The athletes said they enjoyed the games. There was a wonderful atmosphere and it was fun. More than 1000 athletes and visitors went to the Games. The first Australian Deaf Games were in 1964. They are organised by Deaf Sports Australia.
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A TiVo personal video recorder with a remote control
TiVo with remote

Do your research when buying a personal video recorder

Personal video recorders are becoming increasingly popular now Australia has digital television. Personal video recorders are usually easier to use than old video cassette recorders. Personal video recorders can let you watch one show and record another at the same time. One of the easiest machines to use is TiVo because of its remote control. The IQ devices for Foxtel pay television subscribers are also good. Other brands to look at include Beyonwiz and Topfield. The PlayStation 3 can also now record television using the PlayTV box.
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A woman standing with her arms crossed in a large shed surrounded by smoke
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.
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An illustration of an old fashioned television with the word TV on the middle of the screen
TV

We can all have a role in getting people with a disability onto television screens

It is rare to see people with a disability on Australian television. DiVine headed to last week's Logie Awards to investigate. We asked people from the television industry what they thought about disability on television. Many people said there needs to be more people with a disability on our screens. Some said that it needs to start with the writers. Producers also need to start hiring actors with a disability.
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Two young women sit on a bench looking bored in the play Food Court.
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.
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A wheelchair access button on a brick wall
wheelchair access button on a brick wall

People with a disability want to go to the movies like anybody else

Many people like going to the movies. But some people with a disability cannot see or hear the movie, or get into a cinema. Village Cinemas says it is trying to make sure everyone can enjoy their films. Arts Access Victoria is also working to ensure people with a disability are not left out.
1 comment - on 16/04/2010
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