Mind The Gap tackles learning disability & parenthood


Mind The Gap’s Mia: Daughters of Fortune is at Summerhall – 8 to 27th August 2017

Having kids is not an easy decision: Can I cope?  Can I afford it? Have I got enough room? Will I be a good Mum?  Will I screw it up?

Now imagine making these decisions if you have a learning disability.

Woah – wait a minute… Learning-disabled parents? Erm, can they do that? Do they even have sex?  Yes, yes ‘they’ do.

Bradford based Mind the Gap, England’s largest learning disability theatre company (the only learning disability theatre company performing at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017), are bringing their latest production, Mia: Daughters of Fortune, to Summerhall – Tuesday 8 to Sunday 27 August 2017, except Mondays (14.45 to 15.45) – as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Mia is a fast moving, raw and eye-opening production that explores the truths and myths about learning disability and parenthood in today’s society, a piece of theatre dealing with humanity that will resonate with everybody with or without a disability.

Powerfully performed by four professional learning disabled artists Alan Clay, Alison Short, JoAnne Haines and Anna Gray and created and directed by Mind the Gap’s Resident Director Joyce Nga Yu Lee, Mia challenges the often taken for granted idea of ‘being a parent’.

Using recorded video and live camera work, a surreal game show, dance and movement and audience interaction, together with accomplished, engaging and graceful physical performances, Mia’s hard-hitting central message is that parents with learning disabilities face an uphill struggle against a well intentioned but sometimes inflexible system to win the right to have and, most importantly, keep their children.

“The issue of learning disability parenthood is impossibly complex and the performance is composed to reflect this complexity”, explains Joyce Nga Yu Lee, who is herself pregnant. “Think pop culture with popcorn, science with silliness and stories with statistics; Mia is structured with a series of non-linear episodes strung together with a progressive narrative arc. The episodes vary in form and pace, from high energy pop dance to intimate acting, low tech object manipulation to live feed camera and loop pedal.”

Having kids is not an easy decision for any of us. Imagine making these decisions if you have a learning disability.  Mia is grounded on real accounts with the team collecting real life stories from parents with a learning disability.

Joyce Nga Yu Lee added: “Medical experts, geneticists, social workers, council officers and advocates have all been involved in the creation of this piece. But the most important people involved are the learning disabled parents who have shared their stories with us.”

Mia originally toured studio venues around the UK in autumn 2016 receiving outstanding reviews.  It will tour in autumn 2017 and spring 2018 with performances already confirmed at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, and Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax.  See links below to recent reviews and media coverage.


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