Still Lives a highlight at Leeds

News News & events

18 Jun 2012

Performers from CPIT’s internationally acclaimed Different Light Theatre Company are packing their bags again – this time to take their disability performance work Still Lives to the inaugural Ludus Festival, Leeds, from 28 to 30 June.

Organisers are billing Still Lives as a highlight of the festival. “We are the only New Zealand company and the only disability company to be invited so it is a real acknowledgement of the work we have been exploring for the last seven years,” Still Lives director and CPIT Creative Industries tutor Tony McCaffrey said. “Considering the programme features established artists from around the world such as Efímer from Spain and Adishakti from India, it is a real honour for us.

“Our work explores disability performance in a wider context than social issues theatre. It’s about real people dealing with their lives so it can be confronting, it can be entertaining and it challenges what we mean by theatre; this approach has been very well received by audiences here and overseas.”

Benjamin Morris, Isaac Tait and Glen Burrows from Different Light Theatre Company based at CPIT will perform at Ludus Festival in Leeds this month.

Still Lives was first developed in response to the challenges of living in post-earthquake Christchurch, a ‘disabled city’ where the potential for better accessibility and inclusivity of people with intellectual or physical disabilities may yet be realised in city rebuild plans.

International interest in Different Light Theatre Company has snowballed since the work was performed in Australia and then at the International Society for Disability Studies Conference in San Jose, California last year.

“Our performance in San Jose seemed to put CPIT at the forefront of international disability performance work. Since then I’ve been invited to present a paper at the Society for Disability Studies Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado this month and at the Conference for the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) in Santiago, Chile, next month.

“Then in October six performers and I will give a keynote presentation/performance of our new work, The Lonely and the Lovely, a different kind of soap opera, at the Concourse in Sydney for the Arts Activated Conference. In this work performers with intellectual disabilities play all the characters, set in Christchurch in the post-earthquake rebuild.

“So it’s a very exciting time for our company and extremely productive for my work at CPIT and my PhD research at the University of Canterbury looking at The Politics and Aesthetics of Disability Performance.”

The Ludus festival coincides with the Performance Studies International Conference in Leeds where Tony will also present a paper. Performers Benjamin Morris, Isaac Tait and Glen Burrows will travel to Leeds thanks to $10,000 funding from Creative New Zealand - the grant is the first time competitive funding has been awarded to people with intellectual disabilities to tour theatre overseas.

For more information about Different Light theatre Company see