Performing a fairytale for some

• Amanda Smith belts out one of the songs from Once Upon a Time with the chorus behind. Photo by Steve Grant.

FAVOURITE fairytale characters get a “wacky” makeover today (Saturday November 3) as disability service provider Workpower puts on its latest show, Once Upon a Time.

Each year Workpower puts on a performance designed to build its clients’ self-esteem and communication skills, but this year they’ve taken it to a new level, says the organisation’s performing arts facilitator Sonni Byrne.

Big numbers

“This year I ran workshops in the classes where the performers came up with their own story lines and chose their own characters,” Ms Byrne told the Herald.

“I had to put the stories together and link them all through a storyline, so they’re definitely not your traditional fairy tales.

“Everyone is in a scene and there’s a couple of big numbers with dancing.

“It’s been a fantastic experience, seeing so much growth in everyone’s confidence and with their speech and portraying emotion, as well as learning about theatre,” Ms Byrne said.

Amanda Smith takes centre stage for one of the big numbers.

“I am really enjoying it, it really helped to build up my confidence,” says Ms Smith, who has previously been in a school choir but will be making her big stage debut.

“It really awesome, but a bit nerve-wracking at the same time.”

Joshua Ford received an arts grant to develop and perform a monologue for the show about Prince Charming looking for a place to hide.

“Well it just means a lot to me because it has been working with Bithika and Sonni, and they have changed my life for the better,” says Mr Ford, who celebrates his birthday on the night.

“My life is now filled with drama, and I have not had that before.”

Workpower executive manager Vikki Lahore says they’ve been working on the play since early workshops in February, with rehearsals starting in July, although the arts program itself is now in its fifth year.

Once Upon a Time is a free performance at Curtin Theatre, John Curtin College of the Arts in Ellen Street at 4pm today. Bookings at or call 9445 6507.


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