My Ugly Voice


In Australia, it is common for artists who identify neuro diverse or learning disabled to rarely be in key creative roles in dance/theatre making. Opportunities are limited for people from diverse backgrounds and life experience who are engaged in a professional capacity to make creative decisions about the work they wish to make. 

Based in Murwillumbah, which is situated on the NSW North Coast, Kayah Guenther, who has Austrian ancestry and just so happens to have been born with Down syndrome, is just one of many marginalised artists who are usually invited to join a project as part of an ensemble. In most cases the ensembles comprise disabled and non-disabled artists brought together to fulfil the artistic vision of another lead artist.

Most commonly in Australian dance the lead artist doesn’t identify with a perceived disability or social differences. The seeding week of this new 2020 residency combats against that. My Ugly Voice is different because it is Kayah’s idea, and his voice as the key artist is integral in all aspects of this new solo work in development.

The residency is about realising Kayah’s vision for a new work through building upon and perhaps shifting the framework of what he already knows about dance making. Kayah has been dancing since a young age, and has invested the past decade of his life in training to become professional. This week provides him a new perspective of being in the role of an Emerging Director and Performer in his own work.

The focus will be for Kayah to develop new skills in dance and theatre making, that through a series of conversations and improvisation tasks, gives space for chance and his many unexpected ideas to arise.

Through assisting Kayah to develop his own voice as a maker of dance, I will support & encourage him to experience being in the driving seat of his creative ideas. Philip Channells

The focus for this R&D residency is on discovery, where anything and everything can happen. It will be focused less about finding an outcome or an end-of-week showing. It will be more about having fun in a constructive way that finds new ideas to plant some seeds for a future development of a new work in progress.

Where: Clunes Coronation Hall, Clunes NSW

When: Monday 13 – Friday 17 January 2020

I am excited about the workshop. Fun, energy. Help as a mentor, helping to raise my voice. Kayah Guenther.