SQ1: Is attending a theatre performance by actors with learning disabilities a quest for artistic experience or another form of charitable support for them?

When I go to the theatre, I expect to get something from the actors – a story, entertainment, charming moments, food for thought … I also expect to give something to the actors – my attention, my response and at the end I show my appreciation with applause. What is the relationship between what I get and what I give when I go to a theatre for actors with a learning disability? Are they there for me or me for them?


Audience discussion after the Who am I?, performance, CZ 

I find the experience aesthetically fulfilling and it’s different from going somewhere like Mahenka (The National Theatre Brno). When I go there, it’s not really about supporting the actors. I wouldn’t say that it’s about their differences. It’s the fact that they’re a small theatre and they’re doing something specific. I’d support any amateur artists the same way. But at the same time, it’s really rewarding and I come here mainly for the experience. woman #1
I think that the component of viewer enrichment in actor-specific theatre can sometimes really exceed expectations. But perhaps one has to be a little knowledgeable to know that even in this kind of theatre, where the actors may not speak perfectly, there is an aesthetic to it. It may be a good thing to give the audience a little hint and then let them figure it out.man #1
I’m probably a good example in that I’ve never seen anything by Aldente, but I know Jitka (the Aldente Theatre director) and I follow a bit of what she does. So, for me, at the moment, the motivation to come here is just to be enlightened. I have no education in theatre, and it’s as impactful a piece as anywhere else for me. It’s not just about supporting actors with differences.woman #2
My first decision to come was very different – it was for a school course. But I came back for the second time because I wanted to enjoy it again, it was great. As a special educator, my experience was something like, ‘Wow – the things these kids can remember and what they’re able to do, I could never do that.’ And they just keep surprising me. The second time I invited my mum, she asked her friend to join us and we were blown away. So, for us, it’s really about having a great experience. student of special education
What do I think…. The difference between Mahenka and this is that we go to Mahenka expecting something, and we usually get it. But here, at the Aldente Theatre, I see the enrichment in the overall concept of the group. That we don’t just go to see the performance, but we also go to see how the actors have progressed, what they have prepared for us and how the performance is changing.woman #3

Researcher: What is it about the play that makes me see it as an artistically enriching experience?

I believe that the best aspect here is the immediacy of the actors. The actors in other theatres are a little more distant and cold, but these actors are there with you.woman #1

Audience discussion after the Antigona performance, CZ

Usually when I go to the theatre, I enjoy the theatrical forms being used, but there’s always the illusory world aspect. But here it’s less of that and more of a social aspect for me. I really sensed that they’re actors much more, the fact that they’re acting and each one is acting in a different way and how many different forms it can all take. So, for me it was less theatrical. woman #1

I kind of feel that not everyone in our society is willing to accept people with disabilities and treat them equally. But as humans, we really are all equal. It is fair that these people are also integrated into normal everyday life because they have exactly the same rights. They can give something that the so-called non-disabled person cannot, they’re able to give a new perspective. It’s also really lively and there’s a lot going on, so you can see the equality. All of us here are actually a part of something that we wouldn’t be able to create on our own. But when we come together, it creates a piece more magnificent than if people with disabilities weren’t here, or the other way around.woman #2

Dialogue section:

Well, I just came to Antigone without thinking about it like that. woman, CZ

If I had to choose between these two, I would probably lean more towards the artistic experience. Rather than being charitable, I would say that the other aspect is more about “getting acquainted”, “enrichment” and the socio-educational benefit for the audience member.woman, CZ

Charity and philanthropy? That’s just vague in my opinion. I know that Jitka Vrbková, the director of this performance, has a daughter who is specific in this way. I see that, and I don’t think it’s charity. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t feel the best about the word charity, but her personal involvement and her family make it something more than that. I see it as a way to fulfil oneself and at the same time to enable others to do so as well.drama teacher, CZ

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