Inclusion at the heart of theatre program


Director hopes to see more people inspired to have art in their lives
Deron Hamel

The artistic director of Realwheels, a Vancouver-based theatre company dedicated to enhancing “the audience’s understanding of the disability experience,” says a recently launched storytelling program including people of all abilities is proving to be a learning experience.

Since it was launched Jan. 19, James Sanders says the Storytelling in the Arts program has opened up possibilities for people who have a developmental or physical disability by providing aspiring entertainers with a forum where they can perfect their talents.

So far, the program has seen more than 20 people interested in acting, singing and dancing attend the two weekly sessions.

When it comes to learning about performing, the most important thing is a person’s interest and love of their craft — a disability one might have is irrelevant, says James.

“We are all artists, we all have our tools, our voices, our bodies, and we all find unique ways to use them,” he says.

James says the best thing that could happen from people participating in the program is that more will become “inspired to have art in their lives,” and to see the possibilities existing in the performing arts.

“I’m hoping to open up some of those doors,” he says.

James emphasizes that although the program has already started, people are free to drop in to participate in the program until it ends April 6.

The Storytelling in the Arts program is being held every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. 

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