Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meet some Mind the Gap members!

Today, I interviewed Alison and Howard. We talked about their histories at Mind the Gap, as well as their lives in general. Much of what they told me about themselves was touching and insightful.

Alison, Acting Company member

This is Alison's sixth year with Mind the Gap, and her third year as a member of the Acting Company. She first heard about MTG through an outreach program, from which she was invited to come audition for the Making Theatre course. She got in on the first time round, which is not a feat everyone can achieve!

Talley: What is your favorite role to play?

Alison: Well, I've played a lot of upright, snobby characters. With Regan in King Lear (an adaptation, of course), I had to look down at everyone. It ended up being very similar to my character in Cafe Chaos. But I also enjoyed being Grandma in Stig of the Dump! I even had a walking stick!

Talley: What have you achieved in your time here? 

Alison: Well, with the IF [Ideas Forum] Group, I was kind of thrown in the deep end. It was formed in my first year, and originally it was headed up by staff, but then they decided it would be a good idea to have a member of Making Theatre or Acting Company as the chair, and they asked me to chair! I had no idea what I was doing, and didn't have as much confidence in leading other people.
My leadership has come leaps and bounds.

Talley: What are some of your goals?

Alison: Maybe learning a bit about the administrative side of the company. But if I started doing work [in the admin office] upstairs, that would mean not being able to do as much with Acting Company.

Talley: What would you do if you weren't coming to Mind the Gap?

Alison: I'd still be with Specialist Autism Service. If I do different activities through the week, they'd provide stuff. I'd probably be doing some job seeking. They do want to get people into work eventually. Since I'm autistic, I'd probably never get work, but I'd have to be active in looking.
People see the disability, and not the individual. There's plenty of reasons not to hire me. 

Talley: Any other hobbies?

Alison: Oohh! I'm a musician. 

Talley: What do you play?

Alison: Oh, good grief: piccolo, flute, and the alto sax. 

Talley: Which is your favorite?

Alison: I think it could be the sax. I reveled in the lovely, deep sound that the sax produced. 

Howard, Making Theatre student (and starting with the Acting Company in the fall!)

Howard worked in a factory for a long time before he joined Mind the Gap. MTG has given his the chance to start a second life! Howard has been with MTG as a Making Theatre student for four years, and next year he will join the Acting Company. 

Howard: I was really down when I started here because I had just lost my grandma, and times were hard, and Mind the Gap was like a new start. Now I've reached the top and I'm in Acting Company. I'm so proud of me! And my family are really proud of me. 

Talley: What's your favorite show you've worked on here?

Howard: Irresistible. It was the first project I worked on, and I felt so proud of myself, that I'd achieved something.

Talley: What do you look forward to most about coming to Mind the Gap?

Howard: Seeing all these guys! 'Cause I love them all. They're like a family.
Waking up in the morning, knowing I'm coming here every day-- it's refreshing. I can't thank Making Theatre enough. Making Theatre has made these the most enjoyable four years. 

Talley: What have you achieved in your time here?

Howard: [I'm] more confident; more outgoing. I've achieved so much, and I've learned a lot from everyone.

Talley: Do you have any other hobbies? 

Howard: I absolutely love music. I love every rock, actually. My favorite band is Led Zeppelin. My favorite song is "Stairway to Heaven." An absolute classic.