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Expect to see naked abseilers thrown at the Prime Minister in alternative version of Dr Faustus coming to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:50 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 08 September 2018

Playwright Vince Laws rehearsing with Jan McLachlan. Photo: Ann Nicholls

Playwright Vince Laws rehearsing with Jan McLachlan. Photo: Ann Nicholls

Ann Nicholls

Expect dark humour, activism and “naked abseilers” being thrown at the Prime Minister in Vince Law’s new production.

A sign painted by Vince Laws and used in the production. Photo: Ann NichollsA sign painted by Vince Laws and used in the production. Photo: Ann Nicholls

Originally written as a private “depression diary”, Mr Laws decided to create his “queer version” of the play Dr Faustus to protest new assessments for people claiming disability allowance.

The performance, showing at Norwich Arts Centre on Wednesday, September 12, is funded by Unlimited, a programme which helps disabled artists produce creative work.

Mr Laws said he was ready to make their performance of the play at Norwich Pride 2017 their last, but his cast had other ideas.

“The cast were determined to put it on again and applied for funding from Unlimited. I was shocked when we got it.”

Vince Laws holding a black triangle similar to the ones used to identify disabled prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. Photo: Ann NichollsVince Laws holding a black triangle similar to the ones used to identify disabled prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. Photo: Ann Nicholls

Around half the cast suffer from some form of disability and many are involved in activism in their personal lives.

Jan McLachlan plays Lucifer and said being involved had been an incredible and “wild experience”.

She added: “We were overwhelmed by the unexpected funding; we wanted to get more disabled people involved so it’s great to have a bit of money to spend on it.”

Thirty, six foot, shrouds have been created by Mr Laws and spray painted with the names of disabled people that Welfare Weekly claims died after being found fit to work by the government.

Ms McLachlan said: “The most vulnerable people are being hit by the new policies. I have disabled friends who have had to go through a horrific process to get help from the state. It seems to be very cruel.”

But far from being “preachy”, Mr Laws said the performance aims to bring “triumph and joy” to its audience, despite its “very bleak” background story.

He describes himself as an “advocate for using creativity to help wellbeing” and said half the joy of working with the cast had been helping people discover their own creative voices.

He added: “Empowering people is the most important thing. People with disabilities putting themselves out there and proving everyone can have a voice.”

The production is also supported by the charity “Spirit of 2012” and Norwich Arts Centre.

Buy tickets here

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