17 May 2022
By Tom Collins
Artists from Cope Foundation’s Suisha Inclusive Arts will return to the stage for the first time in more than two years next week. ‘Where’s My Art?’ runs at the Cork Arts Theatre from Tuesday, May 24th to Saturday, May 28th next.
The one-hour performance reflects on the lived experiences of artists with a disability and their representation in the creative sector. It stars and is created by 15 artists who are supported by Cope Foundation. The multi-disciplinary show includes elements of dance, drama, film and music.
The production is developed with creatives from Suisha Inclusive Arts/Cope Foundation in partnership with actor Ciarán Bermingham and supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland, Cork ETB, Cope Foundation, Cork City Arts Office and Cork Arts Theatre.
Eoin Nash, Manager of Arts and Creative Arts Therapies with Cope Foundation, explains, “The show features 15 talented artists together with Cope Foundation staff members, Cork ETB staff and students from MTU Cork School of Music. We’ve been working together for six months to develop each person’s story. The end result is a high-quality, moving and entertaining performance about the personal experiences of people with disabilities. It is so important that characters with disabilities are played by people with disabilities, when the part is played by a non-disabled actor it goes against inclusivity and says ‘we can tell your story better than you can’. We’re working hard to make arts more inclusive and we want to see greater representation of people with disabilities on stage, in audiences and in policy.”
Aoife O’Sullivan is one of the artists taking part, she says, “The big thing in my life is rapping and acting and singing and songwriting, it’s a huge goal for me to be involved in ‘Where’s My Art?’, it makes me feel alive and I can be myself on stage. It’s important to me because I love being on the stage and acting and rapping, I love to perform and my disability doesn’t hold me back. Everybody has a unique talent of their own, whether they have a disability or not. Disability or no disability, it doesn’t matter , just go and live your dreams.”
Florin Nolan added, “I love being involved with ‘Where’s My Art?’ as all of us with different abilities get to take part in drama and acting. ‘Where’s My Art?’ is great to get people out there more.”
Suisha Inclusive Arts was established by Cope Foundation in 2014 to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. One of its aims is to build partnerships with arts groups in the community and help create new chances for artists and performers to showcase their talent.
Tickets are on sale at €15 or €10 concession and are available at https://corkartstheatre.com/event/wheres-my-art/ Performances of ‘Where’s My Art?’ begin at 8pm each night.