World Down Syndrome Day Celebrated by Extraordinary Play
World Down Syndrome Day – Monday 21st March
Up Down Boy, Capital E National Arts Festival
Myrtle Theatre Company, Bristol, UK
From the UK, Myrtle Theatre Company (Bristol), are performing their poignant, life-affirming comedy Up Down Boy, as part of the Capital E National Arts Festival for Children – starting Monday 21st March at Ilott Theatre, Civic Square, Wellington.
Writer, Sue Shields never imagined that her teenage son’s interest in performing on stage would lead to a new career for her.
“The day we were told our son had Down’s syndrome we felt like the bottom had dropped from our world. I have now found from my own experiences that having a child with special needs gets you straight to the back of the queue, and that the special needs are often blatantly ignored. I found then that I had a choice - sink or swim. Stand-up and fight for what I believed to be rightfully his or stay at the back of that line and just accept what was handed out to him. I think too much of him to let this happen. Having Nathan has made me a much stronger person than I was at one time and the dark cloud that settled over me on the day he was born had so many silver linings - I just couldn't see them at that time .
I would never have thought it possible back then that I would one day write a play about his life and that play would take us on a journey to share our story on the other side of the world. Nathan is living proof that having a disability needn't restrict horizons - it can open them up!”
Up Down Boy is an uplifting play inspired by the extraordinary life story of Nathan Bessell and his mother’s humorous and unique perspective on bringing him up. Nathan plays ‘Matty’ who is off to college in an hour – and left his Mum to pack his suitcase. She won’t miss the slamming doors, the queue for the bathroom and the phone bills. Will his Mum cope without him? Will he cope with the challenges that lie ahead? And how will they fit that life-size model of Buffy the Vampire Slayer into the back of the car? As well as text, original music and dance, animation is used to highlight Matty’s quirky yet honest humour.
This innovative theatre production sparks between the personal and the epic when Myrtle's high-calibre team create an inspiring drama from what began as an individual challenge. Performed by Nathan Bessell and Heather Williams, and written by Sue Shields (Nathan’s mum) – Up Down Boy, is a delightful and entertaining play suitable for the whole family.
Up Down Boy
Public Performances: Fri 25 March, 6.30pm & Sat 26 March, 1pm
Ilott Theatre, Civic Square, Wellington
Tickets $16.50 per person (or see 3 shows for $33)
Ideal for ages 8 - 14
Bookings: www.capitale.org.nz 04 913 3740 for more details