Port Kembla play hears life stories of people overcoming disabilities

Dennis Sykes, Rachel Murphy, Omar Baatjes and Joy Furarah will perform in The Long Story Short this Thursday. Picture: Xander Productions
Dennis Sykes, Rachel Murphy, Omar Baatjes and Joy Furarah will perform in The Long Story Short this Thursday. Picture: Xander Productions

Rising above adversity is the theme of a new play which will hear the real-life stories from a group of six people with varying disabilities this weekend in Port Kembla.

Uniting Ability Links NSW workers Bruno Conte and John Bowker orchestrated The Long Story Short with the aim of highlighting disabilities come in various forms including mental health and post traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re just trying to say look, have a rethink of your view of disability, have a rehtink of how that affects peoples lives .and we  want to break down that categorisation and stigmatisation and view them as individuals,” Mr Conte said.

“We talked about their experiences, their disabilities, their life, how it changed them how it affected in terms of their friends, their school work, their work, and we weaved a kind of a storyline around all those.”

Andrew Switakowski, Sarah Lander, Dennis Sykes, Rachel Murphy, Omar Baatjes, Joy Furarah and Gemma Parsons. Picture: Xander Productions

Andrew Switakowski, Sarah Lander, Dennis Sykes, Rachel Murphy, Omar Baatjes, Joy Furarah and Gemma Parsons. Picture: Xander Productions

The play will feature tales of a family having to sell their home, forcing their daughter with Down syndrome to move into a group home; a former soccer star who suffered a brain injury after being involved in a car accident; surviving the communist system in Poland before moving to Australia; and a traumatic upbringing in the Congo during the civil war.

Mr Conte said he has seen so many positive changes in the group who have been rehearsing and developing the production over the past year.

“If I look back on when we first recruited them they were very apprehensive, reserved, self conscious and now they’re public speaking skills have improved considerably, their confidence has improved, they’re out there wanting to tell their story,” he said.

The Long Story Short, at the Servo Food Truck Bar in Port Kembla, Thursday July 12. Tickets $10 via www.trybooking.com Parental advisory is recommended.