+3 Interview: Mia: Daughters of Fortune

“You could spend your entire festival at Summerhall and we’re thrilled to be part of that programme.”

WHO: Lisa Mallaghan, Senior Producer

WHAT: “Having kids isn’t easy. Now imagine you have a learning disability… whoa! Can they do that? Do they even have sex? Yes, yes “they” do. Fast moving, raw and eye-opening, Mia explores the truths and myths about learning disabilities and parenthood in today’s society. Think pop culture with popcorn, science with silliness, stories with statistics. A Mind the Gap production created/directed by Joyce Ngayu Lee, performed by four learning-disabled artists.”

WHERE: Summerhall (Venue 26) ​

WHEN: 14:45 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Not for me personally – I’ve been coming to the festival since I was a child, and am a bit of an Edinburgh Fringe addict!

For Mind the Gap, it’s actually our second time, but the first was 12 years ago. It’s also the first time the company has done the full run, without being part of any kind of ‘platform’ (which is so often the case with ‘disability arts’).

Summerhall was our first choice of venue – have you seen what’s on there?! Awesome. You could spend your entire festival at Summerhall and we’re thrilled to be part of that programme.

Mind the Gap is 29 yrs old, and is the ONLY learning disability theatre company appearing at Ed Fringe 17… we are 1 in over 3000… and there is just a handful of other shows by disabled performers (perhaps due to the lack of an official ‘disability arts platform’ this year, discuss…), so get booking quick!

Tell us about your show.

‘Mia: Daughters of Fortune’ was the brain child of Joyce Nga Yu Lee, Resident Director at Mind the Gap. But the idea for the production (and its 2 sister shows: Anna and Zara), was inspired initially by one of MTG’s Artists telling us about her sister going through tests because she was pregnant.

Not the usual kinds of tests, but a far more complex assessment to see whether she would be deemed capable of keeping her child. The mum and dad both have Autism. So we started finding out more, and discovered that learning disabled people (no matter where they are on various spectrums, no matter how independent and capable) are automatically subjected to these assessments, which people without learning disabilities (no matter how potentially dependent, or incapable) are not subjected to.

It’s a massive subject and there isn’t a simple answer to this – the safety of the child is of course paramount – but it’s also really eye-opening. So we set out with Joyce to research the subject and find ways to explore it, to ‘out’ it, to break the taboo, to talk about learning disability and sex and parenthood, to make sure the stories and voices of learning disabled parents are heard.

The show is devised, a roller-coaster of information and emotion, a bit like being pregnant… Sounds pretty heavy right?! Well some bits are, and then there’s other bits like game-shows, science with sweets, fantastic use of dance and shadows, and lots of silliness. This is Edinburgh Fringe after all.

Mia toured to 6 venues last year, and has been tweaked and updated for this Fringe and Autumn tour – it’s heading to Hull Truck, Gulbenkian Canterbury, Square Chapel Halifax and Nottingham Playhouse after the Fringe, and you don’t come to Edinburgh without the intention for a further Spring tour – venue programmers take note!

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I’d recommend Cosmic Scallies, Damned United, Love Bombs & Apples, Salt, The Believers are but Brothers, All we ever wanted was everything… ah there’s loads. Just see stuff, see things that you wouldn’t normally see, and indulge in things you always love.