One of Western Australia’s Fringe World Festival’s more unique performances is from a cast comprised entirely of actors living with disability. They are members of Dance Ability Performing Arts Kelete (DAPAK), a non-profit association for dance and music therapy for performing arts students with special needs.

The classes focus on physical exercise, dance, singing, acting and more, and are designed for students with a wide range of disabilities, including but not limited to autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, vision impairment and congenital conditions.

Aladdin the Pantomime is a great family show with a simple but effective script. Our performers are extremely funny and talented, so I wanted a show that was easy to bring their personalities into. But I also wanted a show that families could bring their children to, to open them up to inclusiveness and difference,” DAPAK chair Kelly Mattravers said.

It was in November last year while the cast was performing Aladdin the Pantomime that a friend mentioned to Mattravers that it would be an amazing show to take to Fringe to show inclusiveness and heart.

“When I contacted Fringe, they could not have been more supportive and helpful, and after one phone call and a few emails, our show was listed,” she said.

Three performances for children will take place at the Phoenix Theatre in Hamilton Hill, Perth, from   February 7-9. Book online here: Fringe World Festival. In a Fringe first, it features 25 DAPAK performers.

Mattravers said the challenge was daunting, given it was the first time the production has been taken to a professional level. “For these guys to have learnt a script and be on stage and step out of their comfort zone is one of the biggest things they have ever done.”

DAPAK is a Hamilton Hill association for dance and students with special needs, providing dance and music therapy to hundreds of students. It also runs events at the Dance Ability Nightclub Newport Hotel, Fremantle with special exclusive nights.

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