True Stories: Martina Cross – There’s no business like show business

Martina Cross and Amy Lawrence performing their roaming act The Tattered.

For many people with disabilities, being able to communicate your thoughts, feelings and emotions can be a daily challenge. But thanks to CPL’s Screech Theatre, and one very dedicated CPL employee, people with disabilities have found their voice on the stage.

Martina Cross, Director of Screech Theatre first started with CPL five years ago as a support worker.

“I’ve have always been interested in drama and theatre performance – I was the child that was always dressing up and putting on shows for all my friends and family!” Martina said, laughing.

“I studied applied theatre at uni, which is a little different to traditional drama, because it uses drama and acting in the community for a reason.

“At CPL, we use theatre and drama for therapy and to help our clients improve their communications skills and confidence.

“I’ve been coordinating Screech Theatre for the last three years, and I love it because it provides an avenue for people with disabilities to express themselves in a different way. The confidence they gain in the drama room can be transferred into every day confidence,” she said.

Martina describes the best part of her job as “seeing performers overcome huge barriers to achieve things like speaking for the first time, or using a new communication device in front of an audience.”

“We had a performer last year who was 22 and was nonverbal – he had never spoken. But after four years of drama and performance training with Screech, he used his communication device for the first time in public, on stage. It’s these kinds of stories that make my job one worth having,” she said.

Martina explained that Screech Theatre is currently planning their next performance, which is a collaboration called ‘Beyond the yellow brick road’, which is based around the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s next adventure!

“I’m really passionate about having every client involved and participating – we modify activities for each session so all ability levels can be included.

“Screech Theatre’s participants are all interested in different parts of theatre too – from production, directing, costume and set design, dancing, singing and of course acting. I like to encourage each individual to pursue the parts of theatre they enjoy the most,” she said.

Martina Cross

CPL – Choice, Passion, Life


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