I performed a small section at the Battersea Arts Centre a couple of months ago as a part of their Freshly Scratched festival. It was a great evening - it was fun to see other performers and try some material on a -largely- friendly audience. It's beside the point but I was medium pleased with my performance. I had some fun off the cuff material but would have liked to engage more with the people there. It was the first time I performed some material without having someone come up afterwards to talk about their experiences which is a shame. BUT part of the show was that the audience were encouraged to provide written anonymous feedback on what they saw.
Now as a general rule, on feedback forms I try not to write anything that I wouldn't say to someone's face. Also I always try to be constructive- shit sandwich style (something good, something to be improved, something good).
The first form I looked at was - to be quite frank - cruel. It's funny how one mean comment can derail any happy feelings. But what shocked me was the sentiment. "I don't even understand why this is a show" "there's nothing wrong with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD" Of course there isn't. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't hear about those experiences. My partner JPH put it perfectly "It's the way that str8 people talk about queer work. Obviously there's nothing wrong with being gay, but those people want you to be quiet about it."
It's important to say I am happy to get criticism and I want to hear people's voices so that I can improve the show and make it as accessible as possible. But what I will not accept is people saying that stories about disability are not important or worth the time.
That is why this is a show.
and I won't be quiet