Hi my name is Nicola Kealy and I run Rhythm Room: A space for integrated theatre and extra support needs. Rhythm Room was set up in 2009 by myself and Mischa O' Mahony to facilitate the growth and development of budding actors and actresses with an intellectual disability.
Rhythm Room runs weekly theatre workshops and we make integrated theatre. "What is integrated theatre?", I hear you say. Well it means that our Actors, Set Designers, Idea Makers, Dancers and Musicians are a mixture of able bodied and disabled truly talented people! Our work to date has been mainly for the open eyes and ears of children and has been interactive in its approach - meaning the audience takes part.
We have worked with theatre companies from Prague and Germany and ran our own fairytale festival in Airfield House and Gardens, Dundrum, Dublin. We are breaking new ground and challenging ourselves with our current production CAN I FIT INTO THIS?
This new piece of work has been devised by the company and has come out of extensive work on the Myth of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave. In the context of CAN I FIT INTO THIS? The Myth of Baba Yaga represents support, strength and the willingness to look in the mirror at the long reflection of oneself and ask the questions: Can I fit into this? Where do I fit into this? What do I have to say for myself? What do I want to say? How do I want to be heard? Will anybody listen when I speak? Does my voice carry any weight or is it floating on the wind? Through the support of the group and the facilitation process the actors have shared their stories and created a landscape for their stories to live, breathe and speak for themselves.
Through the creative process we are looking at the notion of being ‘boxed off’ and how the stories of the company may challenge the way in which the audience puts itself into a box, through its thoughts and preconceptions. We are wondering if our stories are all that different from yours or do they reflect the struggle and desire of all human beings to be seen, heard, accepted and valued for who they are?
How can you help?
We are short €1,200 which we need to complete the project comfortably. We have self funded the project so far with the actors working on a profit share basis and the set etc. will be made from recycled materials on a tiny budget by people with a severe intellectual disability.
In supporting our work you are not only lending a financial hand but you are (to coin a well known phrase) saying "You're worth it!" As the Artistic Director of Rhythm Room, I believe our work is "worth it" on many levels: social, creative and developmental. I hope that you can share this belief too and support us as we continue to evolve.