Young performers with disability have taken to the stage of this year’s Darwin Festival as organisers step up plans for a more inclusive event for people with disability.
Members of the Sing Song Signers Choir were added to the colourful line up of events for the 2019 festival after organisers worked with APM Communities to improve accessibility and the inclusion of people with disability.
The choir, made up of performers from the Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory, (DSANT), performed a 15-minute concert at the festival, which is celebrating it’s 40th year in Darwin.
Rachel Kroes, choir director, said it was the biggest live performance for the group who perform songs through sign language.
“The kids were excited and ecstatic that they would be performing at their fist gig,” she said.
Darwin Festival producer Vanessa Wright said inclusion and accessibility for every member of the community was important to the organisers of the festival.
“We are very keen to improve our accessibility and inclusion policy as well as attracting people with disabilities to the shows”.
The Sing Song Signers Choir proved so popular they have already been invited for next year’s event, including the addition of a junior choir to perform nursery rhymes and songs for children at the traditional opening of the festival.
As part of their role as Partner in the Community of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Darwin, APM Communities also assisted in having an inclusivity audit to see how organisers could improve the event to make it more accessible.
Paul McKenzie from the National Disability Service, who uses a wheelchair, visited the festival to provide unique insights.
“I was able to give some suggestions and was very pleased that the festival organisers took these on board and implemented them,” he said.
APM Communities delivers Local Area Coordination services for people in Darwin and selected regions of Queensland and Western Australia.
Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, NDIS participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.
In addition, APM’s Community Capacity Building teams work with local services and organisations to help improve accessibility and support for people with disability.