Disabilities – not obstacles for performing in the theater
“Əsa” (“Walking stick”), the first theater in Azerbaijan, which was formed by people both with and without disabilities.
The main aim of the “Əsa” theatre is to break stereotypes by bringing together people with disabilities. This is a genuine inclusive theater, where the actors and other theater workers are composed of people with and without disabilities. Although most of them do not have any professional theater experience, the essential thing is that the theatre troupe had a serious approach for their work and gained genuine pleasure.
Out of 15 theater staff members, 8 youths had disabilities. Founder and art director of the theater, Nihad Gulamzada, stated that the work within inclusive teams helps understanding people with disabilities in a better way.
- There are various reasons for the establishment of this theater – not only could people with disabilities not participate as actors, but they also did not have the opportunity to be like the average viewer. There a number of reasons, including absence of relevant infrastructure, fear of people with disabilities to be the object of reproval from others, and the isolation of those with disabilities. We thought that through our theater, we will be able to share relevant messages from those with disabilities, as well as people without physical disabilities. We believe that in the future, people with disabilities will be able to integrate into society faster and easier. Simultaneously, we showed that people with disabilities can independently prepare and present diverse theater shows.
They are screenwriters, directors, and actors of theater plays. With their shows, they are morally trying to support people with disabilities and it works quite well. This theater is an excellent opportunity to reveal the artistic skills of youth with disabilities.
Murad Mammadov, Theater Director:
- Worries and concerns usually subconsciously pass through the thoughts of a person. First of all, one should defeat them inside oneself, then overcome barriers set by others. The main focus of our theater – to communicate this exact message to the audience.
Members of the theatre troupe, who have already prepared and presented such plays, are sure that art knows no borders. From the stage, they are calling for the audience to not forget, that different types of people exist and that disability is not a sickness, but rather a different type of person.
Orkhan Adigozel, theater actor:
- This stage allows us to access a huge audience beyond the theatre. Using culture as one of the main tools of theater plays, we are sharing our opinion with society. Beyond this, with our theater we are aiming to contribute to the development of culture in our country.
For the time being, there is one show in our theater – a psychological drama under the name of “DUMB – The phase's foundation”. The spectacle covers the problem of the main hero – we see the protagonist at the end of his life journey, and at a mental asylum, where he asks himself an eternal question – to be or not to be, to die or not to die?
Looking at the theater performance, one understands that in reality, while those who perform on the stage carry mere physical disabilities, morally they are rich. If there is will, it is easier to achieve one’s goal.