After getting in touch via mutual friends and then meeting over a coffee, Sam Martin and Dan Graham established that they both had a common goal: to see disabilities represented accurately in the arts. From this sparked their journey toward Sam I Am – a powerful autographical account of Sam discovering his identity as a gay, queer, hard-of-hearing and deaf man. On November 29 and 30, Sam I Am will be presented as an in-progress staged reading at the East Sydney Community and Arts Centre.
“When writing the script I was confronted with the challenge of selecting stories and memories from my life to curate into a play,” said Sam. “In Auslan, there is a beautiful sign that if it had to be translated into English would be similar to saying, ‘re-evaluate yourself’ and that is exactly what Sam I Am has done for me.”
Director Dan Graham hopes the piece will spark a shift in the representation of disabilities in theatre, saying: “I’d like both the audience and the Performing Arts Industry to ‘listen’ and realise that in the current long-overdue discussion on diversity that there are many such wonderful stories to be told by artists with varying and diverse disabilities.”
Sam is excited to share his story with an audience for the first time saying, “the performance will include stories that I have never told and despite the nerves surrounding that I am excited to give this opportunity all that I’ve got and see where it goes.”
Sam I Am will be a completely accessible show including an Auslan interpreter, live captioning and wheelchair access.
Nov 29-30. East Sydney Community and Arts Centre, 34 Burton Street, Darlinghurst. $20. Tickets & Info: www.brandx.org.au
By Madison Behringer