MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2nd August 2012
IT’S PERSONAL. IT’S POLITICAL. IT’S PUNK.
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Well-‐known Adelaide theatre designer, disability activist and 2012 Creative Australia fellowship recipient Gaelle Mellis has been dreaming up a subversive new work since meeting director Jenny Sealey MBE in 2005 and working with her and the extraordinary Graeae Theatre Company in the UK.
“I had the opportunity to see myself represented on stage and witness the pioneering of ‘aesthetic access’ – integrating access into the centre of a work’s look, feel and relationship with an audience”, says Mellis. At a similar time Mellis came across a book called Take Up Thy Bed and Walk: Death, Disability and Cure in Classic Fiction for Girls by Lois Keith. “We all remember reading books like Heidi and Seven Little Australians, but what we may not remember is this literature’s obsession with the disabled body. Disability, female transgression and punishment were portrayed side by side.” “Unlike views about women, society’s understanding of disability has not changed greatly since these Victorian novels were penned,” says Mellis. Put simply Take Up Thy Bed & Walk is a performance about women, disability and fiction. Spanning literature, popular music and the personal stories of the performers themselves, Take Up Thy Bed & Walk explores the layers of untruths about disability still so present in popular culture today. While the work starts out from the portrayals of disabled women in 19th century literature, it ends up at the most infamous intervention by a major recording artist with disability within popular culture, Ian Dury and The Blockheads’ anthem Spasticus Autisticus. This song was written in 1981 for the International Year of Disabled Persons and was banned by the BBC despite having been written by a disabled person. Take Up Thy Bed & Walk will give a female and gestural voice to Dury’s deliberately provocative song. As part of making the work, the creative team are seeking submissions from Deaf and disabled women across the globe. Women are asked to record themselves performing or signing a gestural sequence to Spasticus Autisticus. Information on how to contribute can be found at www.takeupthybed.org. Submissions are due by September 7th. Gaelle has gathered together a team of stellar creative collaborators on the show, including former members of acclaimed theatre-‐makers Ladykillers of which she was a member. The all-‐star cast includes Michelle Ryan (award winning dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, ex Meryl Tankard’s 11 Nile Street Port Adelaide SA 5015 P +618 8447 6211 www.vitalstatistix.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA RELEASE ADT), Emma J Hawkins (dancer, singer, circus performer, ex Circus Oz), Jo Dunbar (until recently UK-‐ based dance artist, currently working with Deaf Can Dance Company) and Kyra Kimpton (South Australian interdisciplinary artist, ex Restless Dance Theatre). Inspired by what she first saw at Graeae and the access work she has been doing with the Adelaide Festival, State Theatre Company SA and others over past twelve months, Take Up Thy Bed & Walk will be a uniquely accessible audience experience through a creative approach that incorporates Auslan, audio description and other access features into the design and dramaturgy of the work. Vitalstatistix has worked to produce Take Up Thy Bed & Walk with Gaelle over the last two years. Vitals Creative Producer, Emma Webb, said, “I truly believe she is creating a work that for audiences will be a beautiful revelation. As both a theatre designer and a cultural activist, Gaelle has contributed an exceptional body of work. We are extremely proud to be working with her on this new project that takes her artistic practice to new places.” Take Up Thy Bed & Walk will be an intelligent, unsettling and humorous performance event not to be missed. TAKE UP THY BED & WALK Created & designed by Gaelle Mellis Co-‐director: Ingrid Voorendt; Writer: Hilary Bell; Lighting design: Geoff Cobham; Sound design & music: Zoë Barry & Jed Palmer; Video production: Heath Britton & Jennifer Greer Holmes; Animation: Heath Britton. Featuring Jo Dunbar, Emma J Hawkins, Kyra Kimpton & Michelle Ryan. PRESENTED BY VITALSTATISTIX 24th October to 10th November Wed to Sat at 8pm, Sat & Sun at 3pm Waterside, 11 Nile St Port Adelaide Book at www.bass.net.au or 131 246
FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS, PLEASE CONTACT: Neil Ward Publicity on 0438 095 580 or email@example.com.
11 Nile Street Port Adelaide SA 5015 P +618 8447 6211 www.vitalstatistix.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org