Pre-Paralympic Excitement

The build up of excitement over the Paralympics has affected me for a while; not just because of the impending spectacle of the opening ceremony on Wednesday night or the games themselves, but in Great Britain’s role in breaking down barriers and shattering preconceptions that could affect the world forever. A true bookmark in history.

The London 2012 Paralympics will host around 4,200 athletes from 165 nations, 16 of which will be competing for the first time, impressive news in itself.

Whilst I can’t wait to watch the sports both on TV and at the Olympic Park. I am eagerly anticipating the opening ceremony directed by Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings. Although I am not privy to the secrets of the performance I do know some of the highly talented disabled performers involved.

I recently read an article in this week’s (23/08/2012) The Stage. Matthew Hemley wrote of disabled actress Lisa Hammond’s appeal to cast disabled actors in a wider variety of roles in television dramas. (For a limited time you can read the article here). Her catchy slogan “Put ‘crips’ in your scripts” calls for “impairment blind casting”. I agree with all she has said from the reasons stemmed from fear of casting disabled actors, i.e. getting things wrong and worrying about access, to the fact that disabled people are underrepresented on screen due to often, the only time they appear is because of a storyline that focuses on their disability. Why is it that the disability that makes them interesting? There are other things going on in a person’s life that makes an interesting drama. Our society has (debate if you will) reached a stage where we do not question the race of a character unless it is pertinent to the story line so why should disability be any different?

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 paralympics has the potential to truly showcase disabled British talent in a way that could change these pre-existing views forever.

I can’t wait to tune in to Channel 4 on Wednesday night and once again feel proud to be British.

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