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Dancer with disability Bonnie Curtis secures internship with Wollongong’s Merrigong Theatre Company | Illawarra Mercury


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A dancer with a disability hopes to continue breaking down barriers and stigma in the performing arts industry after being awarded an internship with a Wollongong theatre company. Bonnie Curtis will work with Merrigong in 2022, and is one of ten creatives with a disability to have been chosen for professional development opportunities as part of a Create NSW program. Read more: Free cycling festival with roving performers hoped to return for UCI Ms Curtis is neurodivergent as well as having ongoing physical limitations from past dance injuries – something which is often perceived as a “sign of weakness and inability to perform”. “Regardless of whether or not you have a disability, every person’s body is different,” she said. “Some choreographers and artists embrace this individuality and make it part of their work, while others don’t. “I do feel attitudes and behaviours towards this are changing.” Ms Curtis has worked in Europe and Australia with impressive accolades on her resume, but said the upcoming opportunity with Merrigong would allow her to learn and share. “I am most excited about … having the opportunity to learn from an impressive theatre company that supports independent artists,” she said. “The other is to share my experiences as a person with disability to leave a long-term positive impact on Merrigong.” Read more: Five of the best theatre shows for Illawarra daytrippers Create NSW Executive Director Chris Keely said the internships will create career pathways for the successful interns across the cultural sector and help to remove barriers to employment, training, and support for people with disability. Mr Keely said the interns would also play a part in “reshaping the cultural landscape in NSW, Australia and beyond”. The Createability Internship Program is a three-year commitment delivered through Create NSW and Screen NSW, in partnership with Accessible Arts and various NSW-based arts, screen and cultural organisations to grow pathways to employment for practitioners with disability. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here.

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