Intro: beeps (signifying hospital sound)
When we bring together the creative self-expression of performing, the ownership of creating props. All of those things pulled together there’s a huge amount of benefit, to mental health and to our emotional well-being and a lot of relationship building goes on as well.
One of the most important things that we work towards with the guys is independence so its all about resilience rather than reliance. One of the things that we encourage people to be, I guess train people to be is flexible and adaptable and actually that’s an incredibly key transferable skill, because we have an awful lot of people here with autism.
I like to push the guys in this group beyond what they are capable of doing, well, what they think they are capable of doing, actually I encourage gruesome details. So, for example the voodoo shrunken heads and door knobs made out of knee caps and also curtains made out of, made out of human skin.
How has Prospero helped you?
It’s helped me more, acting-wise, and its now steering me on a path towards caring for other people.
Three words to describe Prospero?
It’s an absolutely brilliant group.
The production that we’re working on at the moment is The Wizard of Oz so we’re creating our own sort of storyline and making it very ensemble in feel, so we have a whole field of scarecrows and lots of additional characters, that don’t come into the text, for example Spellacus which is the spell book that gives their spells to the witches, and we have a really lovely forgetful witch.
[piece from play]
“I was totally lost, until I heard you laughing and talking”
“Ancient Eta and I will get the spell to poison the poppies”
“Spellacus give us the spell for sleep”
“Now Bandora wants the deepest possible sleep but which is the highest number 5 or 10. 5.”
“Now give that to me, I’ll run it across to the poppies”
“Oh, I am ever so grateful Shadow, it will be a different story once I get my new hip”
She was getting on a little bit in age and she’d getting most of her spells wrong by this point.
Each of those characters will be explored within the context of our cast, so as an example, you know, we might have a wicked witch who wants as a person, who wants to really think about what it is to empathise. We have quite a lot of guys with Autism and Aspergers and the whole empathy question, is quite important for a lot of them so we can do that within the play.
Friday club members
My name is James.
Most exciting moment in The Wizard Oz?
Going down the yellow brick road and meeting all the characters.
Three words to describe Friday club
Good, magical, and intriguing
What do you like about Friday Club?
Anna: I like being with Beth, working with the acting, mostly working in groups. Coming together and working like with friendship.
Three words to describe Friday club?
Happy, joyful, and jolly.
I find that acting as a whole, for people on the autism spectrum such as myself it really helps them with learning about body language.
The Monday night group, we’re the ones that are far more outgoing; we’re the ones that do the more outlandish stories and at the moment we are working on a play called COMA. Its all about a woman who in her 60s meets her long-lost daughter and suffers a heart attack. Through the heart attack she faints and knocks herself out.
[Piece from the play]
“Are you Alisa Johnson?”
“Oh, I’ve been looking for you”
“You see the thing is, I think you might be my mother”
“I am so sorry”
“I didn’t mean to…do you want to sit down”
“She’s having one of her fainting attacks”
“I am calling an ambulance”
When she wakes up in hospital she finds..well.. she thinks that she’s 16 years old and thinks its all the way back to the 1970s.
“Mum I can’t tell you how good it is to see you awake. It’s good to see you sitting up”
“Don’t touch me, don’t touch me”
“Sometimes it takes a while for memories to come back”
“When someone’s been in a coma. It’s me your daughter Brooke”
We start in 1973 and finish up in well 2019 and I play the role of Eden and I violate the main character.
“I don’t remember getting home. I was in shock. Which roads did I take? None”
So, it’s obviously also about achieving the best that we can in terms of the artistic pursuits. When we went to Edinburgh with ‘Red and the Wolf’ we got 4/5 star reviews.