In an industrial estate east of the Liverpool central business district in Western Sydney, lies a centre of ability and acceptance, of creativity and caring, of family and friendship. It is in this unassuming location you can find the Australian Dance and Drama Company.
Led by the dynamic Debra Atkins, Australian Dance and Drama Co. offers a wide variety of performing arts and physical classes in dance, piano and gymnastics, just to name a few. The school caters to a broad range of students from all walks of life – children and adults. The school prides itself on its inclusive environment. Their autistic and Fragile X students are loved, nurtured and encouraged to express themselves through song and movement, just like the rest of their cohort.
Occasionally, Australian Dance and Drama Co. students put on performances. Some of those performances take place overseas. Once such performance took place in July this year at Disneyland in California, where in addition to performing, the lucky students were given dance lessons.
Being able to partake in a such a life changing experience doesn’t come cheap for a lot of families. In order to fund the trip, some had to resort to such measures as taking out a second mortgage, selling fundraiser chocolates – or approaching service clubs for assistance, such as SACLC.
And we were only too happy to help.
Not long after their command California performance, we went to visit their facility in Moorebank, where we were shown around by Debra. It was a buzzing hive of activity, with multiple classes being conducted across several studios. Being able to see the students we supported in their element – dancing, singing, expressing themselves – brought us much joy.
Outside of the studios was the spacious waiting room, with tables and chairs where children could do their homework before classes, and families could wait and talk amongst themselves during classes. We had long and lively conversations with the families, who were grateful for the support we gave to their kids. We left Australian Dance and Drama Co. that evening with the impression that it was a family organisation in the truest sense of the word.
Thanks for letting us visit your school, Miss Debra. We’ll be sure to keep up the connection and we’ll only be too happy to support Australian Dance and Drama Co. in the future!
And, if you can, do check out their performance of AIDA at the Casula Powerhouse on September 17th, where you will be inspired by the talent on display as we were.