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No Strings Attached - Theatre of Disability

Home > Adelaide > Community Theatre | Disabled Friendly | Performing Arts | Theatre
by Jonathon Tonkin (subscribe)
I'm a 26 year old male Senior Reporter for Weekend Notes. I Graduated from A Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Communication) at UniSA in 2014. As well as writing for WN I have also done pieces for the Adelaide 36s and Mawson Lakes Living.
Published February 1st 2018
No Strings Attached is Adelaide's Theatre of Disability. Established in 1993, No Strings Attached have been providing an artistic outlet for performers with disabilities from all around Adelaide. They have produced a number of successful and renowned performances throughout the years and are now collaborating with artists via the True Colours Festival in Singapore.

No Strings Attached is an inclusive, community-based organisation looking to put a spotlight on the great disabled artists Adelaide has to offer. I caught up with No Strings Attached Artistic Director Alirio Zavarce to talk about what they have coming up.

No Strings Attached, Theatre, Disabled Arts, Interview, Alirio Zavarce
Artistic Director - Alirio Zavarce

I caught Alirio in the middle of development for their show for the True Colours Festival. He went into some detail of what they are doing.

"We are super excited to be invited to the True Colours Festival in Singapore. It is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. It the first featuring artists with disabilities."

"There are three exciting new collaborations during the festival: The first is an exciting international collaboration with Very Special Theatrics. They are experimenting and developing work and trying to find a methodology in terms of how to create work with artists that identify themselves with a disability. I was there last year for The Arts and Disability Forum and started having a conversation on what we can do with No Strings Attached and how do we create work and my own methodology. So that's why they invited us to collaborate and develop a theatre piece together.

This is the first step in an exciting International Collaboration. I'm going to Singapore to work with their ensemble. I will then present the ideas to No Strings performers and they can then respond to that piece. The response may be a performance piece or music that we'll create in response to what Very Special Theatrics in the Singaporean group creates. And we will continue to collaborate remotely. We will go back during the True Colours Festival in March and both companies will explore how we put all the material created together. It depends on funding, but I would like to take some of our performers to participate in the collaboration."

"The second is the invitation to present the World Premiere of our new work "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" at The True Colours Festival. "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" is an Experimental Theatre piece that investigates memory. Who are we? How do we store memories? What happens when we lose them? "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" came to life out of an exciting collaboration with four performers who share their sometimes-traumatic experiences of acquiring a disability through illness, injury or birth and explores how we accept the changes, how we re-learn everything, and how we sometimes forget it all. This is an innovative, fun and touching exploration with participants who identify as living with 'memory problems'. Created in Collaboration with : Michaela Cantwell, Kathryn Hall, Kobi Taylor, Duncan Luke, Kym Mackenzie."

"This is an incredible opportunity, not just for the company, but for South Australia, to showcase the work that we produce. We have the amazing support of The Singapore International Foundation."

"But In order to take full advantage of this invitation, the company needs $90000. They have already gathered $35000, so they now need to raise $55000 in 55 days! They are doing this through crowd-funding site Chuffed. Even $5 can make a huge difference, is tax deductible, and will get you a signed photo of the cast of "I Forgot to Remember to Forget"."

"And the third news is the invitation to present at the Arts & Disability International Conference 2018 as well. We are showcasing the work of No Strings Attached and my methodology. That's very exciting. We will be doing workshops for artists in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Region."

Is there any particular story about where your current project comes from?

"When I became director of No Strings Attached there was no program for me to inherit. And it gave me a great opportunity to just consult the participants and ask them their hopes and dreams and find out what they want to do in theatre. So I found different commonalities amongst the participants. One thing that struck me is that all the participants identified themselves having memory problems. And that might be due to stroke. Like Michaela Cantwell, who is an amazing performer. She is an amazing actress and did a lot to work with the State Theatre Company and then she had a stroke. We started to collaborate and talk about the process of where is she now and how she is recovering and how she is finding things when you forget things or when you don't forget things but you can't execute things.

Another amazing performer and collaborator is Kathryn Hall. She's brilliant and she shared how there are also moments where she forgets things. She might be on the bus and think "Oh. Am I going to the city or am I coming from the city?". So we started the process of looking at memory and how do we forget things and how we remember things which is something we all do. But you have things which exacerbate it whether through illness or accidents or medication. So we started to develop that into a piece called "I Forgot to Remember to Forget". It's really beautiful in the terms of if you don't remember who you are it's my responsibility to remind you who you are and your identity."

No Strings Attached, Theatre, Disabled Arts, Interview, Alirio Zavarce
Poster for I Forgot to Remember to Forget

What other upcoming events do you have in 2018?

"So we want to do a season for "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" show. We are developing another show called "He loves me, she loves me not.", which is all about relationships and how you navigate that maze. If it's already hard enough to find a partner sometimes and how do you navigate that when you have a disability. It's quite an ambitious project. I want the company to lead the process. There's a moment as we progress that all the artists without disabilities will step out and we let all the participants operate everything from large projection to front of house and backstage and they literally manage all parts of the show. We also have an amazing workshop program where we are in contact with over 100 participants in the Adelaide Metro area. Last year we did a project called The Gathering with Tracking Culture. It's a workshop where all the participants are Indigenous and they have been ostracized from their cultures and they are trying to get their culture back. That's quite exciting because there are some amazing visual arts and crafts and they also create theatre which is absolutely beautiful. A lot of activities as far as what we're doing and at the end of yea,r we have a major showcase of all the performances that we create and that is for the International Day of Disability called ReConnect in December."

For more information about No Strings Attached visit

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