Let me tell you a story...
We first met Andreas Prinz when he wowed us at auditions for our inaugural play, Rare. Our plan was to create a play with nine actors with Down syndrome. This new play would provide a platform for these nine actors to tell the world exactly what they wanted the world to know. Andreas gave a knock-out audition, leaving us laughing and crying, and then told us what it was like to be him.
Andreas is a 45 year old man who had been defined only by his Down syndrome for most of his life; he is plagued by extreme bunions, throat issues, and terrible loneliness. The one person who appreciated his many extraordinary qualities was his mother. When she died five years ago Andreas was inconsolable. He was desperate to be truly seen once again. We were thrilled to offer that opportunity.
In 2008, during our workshops for Rare, we found Andreas to be creatively on fire. “Anxiety is like a flower”, he said one day, and we held our breaths. Wonderful and unique writing began flowing out of him. From that day forward, Andreas embraced his identity as a creative writer.
He was a shining star in Rare, at the Toronto Fringe and Soulpepper in 2008-2010, and we were thrilled to see his self esteem soar through the process. Standing ovations and fan letters did wonders for Andreas and the others. He also was in our show Wildfire, in which the company members, who all had Down syndrome, used the theatre to expose the horrors of so-called hospitals such as Huronia. After our show closed, Andreas continued writing, with a full-length screenplay now to his credit.
The mandate of RARE Theatre is to serve marginalized communities that have expressed an urgent need to share their stories with the world. The runaway success of the plays we have created with these communities: Rare, Borne, Wildfire, and After the Blackout, has proved that theatre is the most powerful tool we have to build not only understanding, but deep appreciation.
Support for RARE Theatre means support for Andreas, and, many others like him. We at RARE Theatre hire and mentor artists from underserved and diverse communities, and cater our practice to their needs. We hold our artists to the highest standards, and we believe they should be paid as the professional artists they are. Andreas and most of the others who have worked for us have never been hired by mainstream theatre companies because of their differences; your support will help us show the world that extraordinary artists come from every walk of life, and they deserve to be seen and heard by all of us.