This piece was written by Flick, as part of our 'Disability pride starts here' project.
It is an act of defiant hope to implement community in spaces you have traditionally found isolating - whether that be in big ways or small. This has been the small act of revolt that myself, and collaborator Tansy Gorman, undertake in our aim to bring access methodologies created and fought for by disabled advocates long before we had the courage to do so, to teams that would otherwise have not prioritised them.
I’m Flick. A writer, dramaturge, and creative producer in Naarm/Melbourne’s independent theatre scene. A core pillar of my practice - and opening shout of my personal manifesto - is to bring access to traditionally non-disabled spaces. Using lived experience of disability to model an inclusive, empowering, and creatively robust way of making art. This is best described through the partnership of exposition and creative response. It’s in this form that I hope to reflect the pulsating complexity of being a purposeful minority in a space, and the difficulties and empowerment it brings as a dynamic and evolving practice.
Tansy and I arrive an hourly to each rehearsal, development, or call time. We need it. To manage anything from the day in general, the space, our plans, problem solving. At the mercy of our own minds and bodies, it’s about both ensuring we’re able to be punctual as lead creatives, to then also allow others the opportunity to regulate, prepare in their own ways, and have access measures set up in whatever way the context demands. Our practice is about routine, constant checking in, and flexibility where it matters.
Something I must assert: An ableist way of working is so ingrained in me, symptomatic of a lifetime of hiding and covering up or ignoring my own needs, that I know that I’m not a perfect barometer for this within myself. But my optimism lies in a consistent and active re-learning of how to work and live in new and better ways. Not better to be efficient for a product, not better to gain more labour from others, but better for ourselves, for each other. It’s this intangible feeling that happens with small changes every day, small changes whenever possible. It couldn’t be done without my co-conspirator Tansy. I talk about her in this context not only because of our work as a duo, but because of the pride I feel actioning this way of being in partnership with her. We both understand what it is to be relegated to the too-hard basket, to want fiercely to work hard and be excellent, and to be far too impatient to wait for someone else to solve the problems.
Without warning - Flick (2023)
Hands to mouth,
Time gobbles a thousand futures.
Each moment that passes
Another tiny death.
I want to drag meal to my front,
Digest it all and have them be-
- part of my bone marrow. We’ll never part with one version of ourselves and we’ll just go on and on and on and there’ll be no pauses or stops and we’ll forget what it is to be at the beginning with the weight of everything and anything at your fingertips and we’ll eventually but likely ignorantly be at the end and feel only one thing behind us that thing the life we lived and of course we’ll feel the bile ride up to escape our bodies, those little bodies that helped us traverse everything we ever did, because we will be sick with regret that there is more that wasn’t than was and there is much more was than will or could be and at that moment it’ll just-
Comfortably but actively aware of our own mortality, we feel optimistic and rigorous about using every day to do what we love. To strive for the superlative. To put into practise ideals. To not waste time, or to waste in ways that are defiant and revolutionary. To be better. To do better. We wanted better spaces, so we’re making them ourselves - loudly and with pride.
Do you have X?
Do you have Y?
Do you experience ABC?
Never heard of it?
Do you know it’s not EFG but HIJ?
You could take MNO but PQR is better for XYZ. I think?
Being able to name things has been a stark change in the ways in which we can describe or affirm needs to pre disabled people. Having a cultural overhaul of disability in our sector has been vital. It’s hard to know how widespread it is… if it’s about you you tend to be more aware… but the change feels pivotal to me. And also miniscule. The difference between how I felt in school as a child, or even theatre school a few years ago versus now is dramatic.
We’re in a tumultuous and fast-paced culture shift around the way we embrace and nurture disability away from siloed spaces. The social model correctly dictates the issue lies with normative spaces and their narrow forms of empowerment and engagement. By bringing access methodologies to non-disabled spaces, we prove the need for expansive and divergent options for operations in a variety of spaces. You don’t need to identify as having a disability to benefit from reworked workplaces, social spaces, and more. In this way, disabled people have necessarily and consistently been at the forefront of divergent, advanced, and empowering ways of operating as a community.
Meet the writer
Flick (they/them) is an artist and independent producer. Under FLICKFLICKCITY, Flick looks to produce new works that embrace spectacle as political movement, that are bold and experimental, and that think specifically about the impact of process as artmaking. In Naarm, they’ve produced works with Theatre Works, Motley Bauhaus, Midsumma Festival, Melbourne Fringe, and Frenzy Theatre Co. Flick is also a writer, with their most recent show SLUTNIK™ presented at Midsumma, Melbourne Fringe, and Adelaide Fringe throughout 2022-23, with the much anticipated sequel (SLUTNIK™ 2: Planet of the Incels) slated for the Theatre Works mainstage season in 2023. Flick’s written repertoire has appeared on stages in Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles, and developed/produced by the likes of ATYP, Nightingale Content, Katie Rowe, & Queerspace Arts. As a queer and disabled artist, they aim to honour their communities through radical accessibility and representative creative teams within the arts. Flick is currently studying a Master of Theatre (Dramaturgy) at the Victorian College of the Arts, is a member of the Green Room Theatre Independent Theatre Panel, and a writer in the 2022/23 Theatre Works SheWrites Collective.