How did you get into theatre?
My love of the performing arts stems from my involvement in school plays and youth theatre. As a child with dyslexia, I didn’t always engage with academia but thrived in the arts. Then, as a drama college graduate in my ‘resting’ periods, I worked as a care worker. I discovered how theatre could be used as a tool for empowerment and positive self-identification and provide a forum for people to connect and communicate. I now teach drama to adults with learning difficulties at City and Islington College, and run a theatre group at Islington Outlook, which is a resource centre for people with acquired disabilities and sensory impairments.
What is your best advice for students today?
Never undervalue the people you meet or underestimate the power of friendship. Opportunity can present itself in the most unexpected of places.
What would you change about UK training?
I would make it more accessible to people with disabilities and people from a wider range of social and economic backgrounds. Lack of funding and inflexibility with respect to entry requirements is a massive barrier.
What is the best part of your job?
Using theatre to harness the experiences, insights and differences of those I work with.
And your least favourite?
There is too much emphasis on quantative measures of assessment and success. I believe this system obscures our perceptions of value and it is potentially oppressive to the development of many of my learners.
Who should students be looking up to?
Graeae Theatre. Their work is inspirational.
What one skill should every successful theatre professional have?
Christine Handy is a supported learning drama lecturer at City and Islington College. She was talking to John Byrne