If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know that we try to ensure BJ has as many life experiences as possible and we love giving him the chance to try new things. So, on the weekend when he was given the opportunity to join an aerial theatre workshop to experience the thrill of circus, I thought, “Why not?”. We had just gone along to watch because I didn’t think BJ would like it. But with the idea of always giving him choice I asked him if he’d like to give it a go and he indicated he’d like to join in.
The Ockham’s Razor Aerial Theatre workshop for people with a disability was offered as part of the Sydney Festival this year. It was an inclusive workshop which was open to people of all abilities. When we arrived, I wasn’t sure how BJ could be included. He was the only wheelchair user but the performers and facilitators were encouraging and had a can-do attitude which gave me confidence.
Everyone was encouraged to take part in the warm up exercises to the best of their ability. Once the warm up was over it was time to give some of the activities a go. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the performers to help the participants use the equipment. The tent came alive with one girl using the trapeze, a lady trying rope work and then there was BJ. BJ was harnessed up and got ready to ‘fly’ to the roof.
BJ has so much additional movement it was tricky to get the harness on but the facilitators showed patience and determination in getting it done to give him the opportunity to participate. He was enthused but it changed quickly when he started to be lifted up. I guess for someone who struggles with balance, not having any control and having nothing to hang on to for stability was unnerving. We gave him a little while to get used to it but it was clear it wasn’t for him. I’m pleased he gave it a go and we can notch it up to another life experience. Because I’d never like an unflattering photo of myself plastered all over the internet I’m only including a back shot of BJ giving it a go, his scared look isn’t a good one!
We loved watching the other participants of different abilities giving the activities a go. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, though one admitted it was hard work. How wonderful to see the support they were offered to try something new.
Unlike BJ, this boy couldn’t get enough of ‘flying’ and kept asking to go higher and higher and declaring, “This is fun!”
The workshop was proof, that with the right support and willing facilitators, everyone can be involved.
The facilitators at the workshop were the performers from Tipping Point, an acrobatic show we had see the evening before. BJ absolutely loved the show and was the most enthusiastic audience member in the tent.
BJ was delighted to have the opportunity to meet the stars of the show at the workshop. It was wonderful to hear from the performers that it had been a joy to have him in the audience and see him enjoy the show so much.
The workshop was a free event as part of Sydney Festival. I hope we see more of these opportunities in the future for people of all abilities. I encourage you to give it a go. While we now know BJ won’t be wheeling off to join the circus, at least he had the opportunity to see if it was for him. Life should be about opportunity.
For our UK friends, keep an eye out for the workshops offered in London. You can read more about them here.
A big shout out to the team at Ockham’s Razor for finding a way to involve everyone and to Sydney Festival for including the workshop in this year’s program.
Would you give aerial work a go or would you consider it for your child?