Excitement is building for the second edition of Unstop-Ability, which hits the Inverell Town Hall on Thursday and Friday this week.
Over 100 children and adults from across the Inverell district will come together in a celebration of music, dance, lighting and sound to give their audience an inclusive experience. The show is a team effort of all ability levels.
The Unstop-Ability theme for 2019 is 'Reach for the Stars', with an emphasis on how people can lift each other toward their goals, raising their voices individually, and collectively.
"Last year our audiences were blown away by the joy in the performance," creative director Stephanie Marshall said.
"This year, I think they'll be amazed at the extent to which all our performers have grown in confidence and ambition. But the most remarkable thing I witness in each rehearsal is the way they support each other. It truly has been a collaborative experience. And each actor has the other one's back."
The collaboration has extended beyond the performers this year with professionals invited to support and mentor the artists. Stephanie explained the partnerships are assets for the performers' development, knowledge and confidence, and redefine the limits of creativity and communication for the audience.
"Coming on board this year are Dean Davis with his expertise in dance, and Craig Maynard with his expertise in Auslan, which is Australian Sign Language. Both men have reflected on the experience and feel there is a bigger picture emerging - that we are all together on this journey; that we are all supporting each other," Stephanie said.
Craig is a Behaviour Support Practitioner with the Benevolent Society. He joined the Unstop-Ability team to teach them one of the songs in Auslan and perform alongside them during the productions.
"I think for me, it is exposing sign language, the beautiful hand shapes, that it has a meaning," Craig said.
Auslan is expressive both with hands and gestures. Craig related a story about a friend who was visiting and watched as he communicated with two deaf clients.
"She said to me, 'I felt so relaxed and it was just beautiful how your hands were signing. It was almost like poetry in the air. It's beautiful to watch'."
Unstop-Ability: Reach for the Stars is at the Inverell Town Hall at 12pm, Thursday 17 October, and 6pm Friday 18 October. Entry is free with donations welcome, and booking is encouraged at trybooking: https://bit.ly/315T08m.