Theatre group 'Listen to Dis' confronts stereotypes of disabled

A Regina theatre group called Listen to Dis continues to provide a creative outlet to people with disabilities while confronting prejudices.

'It feels like I'm free,' disabled performer says of stage work

Listen to Dis is a Regina theatre group. (CBC)

A Regina theatre group called Listen to Dis continues to provide a creative outlet to people with disabilities while confronting prejudices.

"It feels like I'm free," performer Barry Lasko said about his experience with the troupe of twelve.

The troupe has been around for 10 years but it officially became Listen to Dis, a non-profit organization, last year.

Lasko said that he often feels that people who meet him, outside the theatre, only seem to notice his wheelchair and his speaking difficulties. 

"They don't spend time. They don't talk to me, to find out the real me," he said.

Lasko's observations are not unique. Director Traci Foster said many people in the disabled community have considerable creative talents, but opportunities are limited for a variety of reasons.

"There are many, many people that don't have a means of full-out expression," Foster said.

Another member of Listen to Dis, University of Regina theatre student Natasha Urkow, recalled how her interest in the performing arts was met with a suggestion, from a professor, that she consider a different field of study because of her disability.

"[The group] needs to be there to spread the message to the public, to teach them there's a lot of people out there with disabilities and you might as well incorporate us, because we're not going anywhere," she said.

Urkow is continuing her theatre studies at the university, but has changed professors.

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