Quarterly Global Newsletter Q3 2017
Music for Autism International
Music, Dance, Art, Sport/Multi-Media
This newsletter is designed to highlight autistic performances across the above components which occurred globally during the quarter noted. We have attempted to limit the reading time for each entry to less than 30 seconds.
We also attempted to provide visual links wherever possible.
We hope you find this useful and please do share it widely. We also keen to accept input from any of our readers.
Pablo – New CBBC TV Programming (UK)
In late September, BBC launched a new CBBC children’s television (52 week) series about autism entitled Pablo, detailing the adventures of a little boy who has his own unique way of dealing with the problems he encounters. The programme tells the story from a 10 year autism youth’s eyes. The Creative Director wanted to increase the exposure of the audience to the traits of autism “ so they would spot and then understand them just a little bit more”.
Each story opens with Pablo encountering a new or difficult situation which threatens to overwhelm him. To deal with the problem, Pablo draws a picture, and then enters that ‘art world’ filled with animals, each of whom represents an aspect of his personality including Wren, who flaps, Llama, with ASD repetition, Tang, who has limited control over his limbs and Mouse, who likes order and consistency (all behaviors we have seen in classrooms across countries in MFAI). When writing the show, the focus was on insights from those on the ASD spectrum, including Pablo’s voice, instead of from neurotypical people who were experts on autism (http://metro.co.uk/2017/09/28/introducing-pablo-heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-cbeebies-brand-new-show-about-autism-6958515/?ito=cbshare)
Susan Boyle – Glamis Prom 2017 (Scotland)
In July, Susan Boyle (diagnosed as Aspergers in 2012) and Lee Mead, stage performer, TV star and singer, performed the duet "All I Ask of You", against the backdrop of Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland. The theme for this year’s festival was "An Evening at the Musicals!"
In June, a gang of 15 local youths had been constantly harassing the singer in her small hometown of West Lothian. In one incident, they pelted her with anything to hand; in another, she was verbally abused by the youths. After a number of months, this was finally sorted. For more about Susan’s performance at Glamis Prom, please visit (www.susan-boyle.com/.../Glamis-Prom-2017/.../All-I-Ask-of-You-...)
Due to Susan’s recent focus on domestic travel, TAAC would be delighted to sing with her at a UK based event of her choice.
Philip Martin-Nielson Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (USA)
In August, Philip Martin-Nielson, as part of the Trockadero de Monte Carlo Ballet Company, an all male comic ballet company, performed at the West Hampton Beach Arts Performing Arts Center. Martin-Nielson is a leading dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male troupe famous for its parodies of traditional ballets. Martin-Nielson, who was diagnosed at age 3 was unable to maintain eye contact or communicate and couldn’t bear to be touched. However, by mimicking and practising dances he saw on children's television he discovered that he could express himself through dance. After years of pleading to his mother, she signed him up for his first ballet class at age 6. At age 15, he was accepted into the American School of Ballet. The ABS does not allow men to dance en pointe (which Fred Astaire did on stage at age 9), so Philip did so in his room. He is now aged 23 and has now performed in 17 countries. (https://sagharborexpress.com/trockadero-ballet-company-perform-pac)
IReach (Hong Kong)
iReach, in conjunction with Music for Autism International (MFAI) instituted a 7 week percussion pilot involving first time percussionists (ages 14-19). The training was led by Sophia Woo Shuk-fai, a percussionist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra , as well as instructors from the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Sophia has a particular interest in working with those who have autism and show an interest in developing musical talent.
The pilot was deemed as successful leading to additional local funding to continue the programme into 2018. Ultimately, this group of youth could perform publicly in the future.
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – with an Autistic Actor (USA)
In September, this play, which follows a 15-year-old boy with autism as he sets out to solve the mysterious death of a neighbourhood, premiered in 2013 and has, since then, featured an actor without autism in the lead role. On Sept. 17, the Indiana Repertory Theatre premiered its production with actor Mickey Rowe who was diagnosed as autistic at age 21. The IRT production ran until 14th October. The production then moved to Syracuse Stage where it opened on 17th October.
L'Autre par Lucile Notin-Bourdeau Lucile (Lulu) Notin-Bourdeau – Autistic Artist (France/Avignon)
Vernissage le 3 octobre à 18h30 The Other; Exhibition/Vernissage; Announced 13th September, launched 3rd October to 8th December in Avignon at Sainte-Catherine 84000 Avignon. Presented by Christians Deloffre, Bernard Causse and Robert Mauron-Billot. This show follows a prior exhibition of her work in Velaux, located between Salon de Provence and Marseille, from 9-20 September. She started drawing at the age of 3 (she is now a teenager) beginning with dots then rounds then circles. She draws only characters, rarely uses colour, consumes 1-2 pens and circa 500 sheets of A4 paper each week.
Exposition visible du 3 octobre au 8 décembre 2017 au Théâtre Golovine à Avignon
Higashi- Boston – Jazz Band (USA)
In July, the Jazz Band from Boston’s Higashi School performed at two Boston venues during its Summer Concert Series, Ryles Jazz Club and Laura’s Center for the Arts. Dr Stephen Shore also performs alongside the Higashi Boston Jazz Band (Stephen Shore plays with Boston Higashi Jazz Band- youtube)
The AutistiX (UK)
Is a rock band of three North London based ASD musicians. In July, they completed recording 4 new songs at Cable Street Studios. They also performed at the London based Beatles festival - Beatles 1Day in Chiswick, the South End Green Festival and the UK Disability Pride Festival in Brighton.
Cym Wanderers Football Club (Wales)
In early September, Swansea based football club launched the support of an autistic football academy. Managed and operated by Swansea based football club, Cym Wanderers, the academy has seen investment and support from both the Swans and the Community Trust’s Inclusion project - in the form of financial aid to fund equipment, specialist coaching and an astro facility . “Cym Wanderers recognised the need for something specific for children with autism as a way of engaging them into football, as well as the need for establishing a safe social environment for children.”
Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (UK)
In September, autistic singers linked up with professional performers to record a fund-raising single and music video. Musicians Jack Rennie and Will Roberts penned “Whatever the Weather” sung by professional singer Kelly Wilde and actress Dawn Lowe and members of the Newcastle based charity Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society (SASS). The song features people with different autism symptoms, including a 61 year old postman who was diagnosed when he was 58 years old – and who never thought he would be recording a music single. The song was recorded at Silk Mill Recording Studios and released on 14th October and available on iTunes.
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