Monday, 17 December 2012

Atos Stories Cancelled!

The Atos Stories Collective is shocked to hear that Newham Council has this week cancelled the Act Up performance of Atos Stories which was due to take place on Wednesday

Act Up -  a small community theatre group, many of whom have disabilities - were invited by the Council to perform at the event. A month ago, the group provided background and logistical information about the play, and were advised the Council were happy for them to perform. They are devastated that the Council  has decided this week that  the play is not "suitable" for the target audience of the over 50's.

As Act Up have pointed out - many people over 50 have disabilities and have been subject to Atos assessments. Why would they be offended by a play that would give them an opportunity to both laugh at Atos and inspire them to work together to challenge the Work Capability Assessment?

We are deeply disappointed that despite having information about the play for over a month, Newham Council have not chosen to discuss this with Act Up until the 14th December. We are also disappointed that the Council hasn't stopped to consider the enormous barriers  Act Up have overcome to even perform the play. The group have been working hard for the last three months, they deserve to be treated with far more respect than this.

We wrote Atos Stories because we were mad at Atos. We wanted people with disabilities and without  to have vehicle to challenge the Work Capability Assessment in a creative and dramatic way. We thought Atos might stop that from happening. We never thought a local council would.

We understand Act Up will be lodging a complaint with Newham Council. We intend to do the same.

PS A clarification. It appears that one of the concerns is that the play isn't suitable for a festive occasion. If this is the case, why did Newham wait till a few days before to discuss this? And if the cancellation is solely on the grounds of the play not being Christmassy enough, perhaps they can offer Act Up a chance to perform on another occasion instead?

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