Bringing awareness to the community on the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities in a creative and artistic way was the focus of the new Ability Network Productions (ANP) group.
“Recent Federal statistics show that people with developmental disabilities are four to 10 times more likely to be victimized. Education is key in creating awareness and understanding and through use of the arts, we have been successful in not only educating the public, but also encouraging confidence in individuals, with developmental disabilities, to speak up,” said Laura Womack, service support administration at the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities and creator of ANP.
In 2010, the first production grew out of a training session with an organization called AVERT (Abuse, Violence, Education, Recognition, Training). Through role-playing, Womack saw a strong potential to create something that would enhance the learning process for the individuals involved as well as educate in an entertaining way.
“The creation of the production Heart Strings came into being and was co-sponsored by The Scioto County People First group, which then evolved into the Scioto County People First Players,” Womack explained, “The three-act play was about the way people use guilt and manipulation to take advantage of persons with disabilities.”
After the success of the first production, Womack wrote a second play that was based on the characters of the Wizard of Oz. In 2012, Sign Posts, a story explaining the rights and responsibilities of individuals with developmental disabilities was not only performed at the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, but in Wheelersburg for the community.
“We had such a positive response to the first production that we were able to work with the group Living With A Cause and perform at the theater next to the Wheelersburg Cinema for a full house,” said Womack.
Now, because of the success of the first two productions, Womack has formed Ability Network Productions and is already working on the next venture. The group recently partnered with the Boneyfiddle Gallery to host a Behind the Scenes event and showcase some of the props, costumes and photos.
“We had several of the costumes and props on display as well as photographs and video of the first two productions for the public,” said Womack, “the idea was to share what we have done and get everyone excited for our next piece. We had a great turn out of more than 50 people in the short time that we were on showcased.”
Funding for the next production will be provided by the Friends of Scioto DD. The group will be hosting a Mardi Draw fundraiser in October for a chance to win up to $5000 in cash and prizes.
“We are still in the planning phase of this event, but are hopeful that it will allow us the opportunity to raise funds to host a great production,” she said.
For more information on opportunities available for individuals with developmental disabilities, visit us on the web at HYPERLINK “http://www.sciotocountydd.org” www.sciotocountydd.org, like us on facebook at Scioto County Board of DD or follow us on Twitter @SciotoDD.