The desire to find love is universal, so what happens when you start looking for love and you live with a disability?
Thomas Banks is 24, gay and looking for love. He also lives with cerebral palsy. The Australian premiere of Someone like Thomas Banks opens at Fortyfivedownstairs on Saturday 31 October until Sunday 8 November 2015. It will tour nationally in 2016.
This is the moving and poignant story of Thomas Banks and his quest for love. This one man show is also a story about online dating and hook-ups, disability advocacy and finding your true voice.
Banks is determined to have a voice and be heard, determined to change stereotypes about disability and sexuality and determined to find Mr. Right.
His search for love is made all the more difficult when what you say is not always understood, but online he has found a way he can be himself, and people can understand what he is saying – online, he looks and sounds like everyone else.
Technology is vital not only in his life but also in the show – it’s a way for Banks to communicate to the world at large and with his audience. On stage, he uses a range of communication devices including: projected text, a Lightwriter, spoken word, animation and social media. When the technology is removed and we hear Banks speak those listening can discover that not unlike a crystal radio set their ears have been tuned in and they understand him after all.
Banks challenges many of the stereotypes about people with disabilities – his cerebral palsy only affects his movement and speech. He lives alone, has a very active social life and is forging a career in the arts.
Someone like Thomas Banks has been written by Gaylene Carbis from the writings of Thomas Banks. Dramaturgy by Nina Barry Macauley and adapted for Performance at Fortyfive downstairs by Director Lucy Freeman.
This work began life in 2010 as a short work outcome (The Power of Love) from Platform Youth Theatre’s Provokateur project, which supports young emerging artists in the development of new collaborative partnerships and new short works.
Banks was a teenage member of the Back to Back Theatre Performance ensemble. He has worked with industry professionals and performed on a regular basis. He also worked as a freelance journalist for the online sites Youth Central and Divine. In 2007 his autobiography about living with a disability was published.
He is an active public advocate and has been a committee member for the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), the Youth Reference Committee at the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, and is currently a member of the Victorian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission Disability Reference Group.
Born and raised on a country property on the outskirts of Geelong, Thomas’ pure determination in life and his ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone is inspiring.
Thomas Banks and the creative team are available for interview.
Presented by Platform in collaboration with Straightjacket Productions Someone like Thomas Banks at Fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne from 31 October until 8 November, Wednesday – Saturday, 8pm. Matinees: Friday 6 November 10am; Saturday and Sunday 5pm. Tickets: $40 full; $30 senior; $20 concession. Duration 60 minutes. Bookings: 03 9662 9966. http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/ More information: www.pyt.org.au