Alan Shain's First Day in the School Yard

Alan Shain's First Day in the School Yard

Alan Shain will be joining us at the Tett on Sunday, April 26 at 2pm for a FREE performance of his one-man show, First Day in the School Yard. Shain’s work is “founded on a deep commitment to taking personal responsibility for creating change.” Mixing storytelling and dance, theatre and stand-up comedy, he draws from his own life experience of disability. His work has receive national and international acclaim.

First Day in the School Yard is a poignant and humorous look about heading to a new school in a 500-pound wheelchair.  It is suitable for Grades 4-8 and the general public.

Shain was kind enough to answer a few questions: 

1. What can people expect when they come to your performance of First Day in the Schoolyard at the Tett?

They can expect to laugh, to be entertained and to catch a glimpse at how I see life as a person with a disability. But most important they can expect great stories that will whisk them away for an hour!

2. Your work spans theatre, dance, storytelling, and stand-up comedy. How to you blend these together?

This show will feature some stand-up comedy and some storytelling. My stories always involve humour. My work in theatre and dance has given my stories a bit more of a performative edge. This has given me more tools to engage the audience and bring them into my stories.

3. Can you tell us a bit about attending the Paralympic Art Festival in Sydney?

It was November when it was cold and rainy in Canada and coming onto winter. But it was actually spring time in Australia - warm weather and the days were getting longer … need I say more - lol! But honestly it was an incredible experience. I was there representing Canada. The audiences loved to laugh and were very engaged in my performances. I got a few new jokes out of the experience - for example about how they drive on the left. So the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car from what we're used to. It is where we're used to the passenger sitting. So for a while I would accidentally get into the car on the driver's side in Australia, but I don't drive!

4. What has your touring experience taught you about disability and theatre?

It has taught me that we all share a love for laughter and a love for story. Those two things - laughter and story - can connect people across the widest of perceived differences. When I start my shows the audience might see me as the "other," but by the end of the show we're all connected through story.

Laughter has been a survival technique for me. Ever since I can remember I've used laughter as a way to meet and connect with people.

5. What’s your favourite part of touring?
Laughing - lol! - and making people laugh with me and being able to talk with people after my shows who may have never dreamed of talking with someone like me.

For more information about Alan Shain’s work, visit his website.