Gavin Yule, a former performing arts student at Fife College, is preparing to premiere a new play which explores how a wheelchair user deals with the aftermath of being the victim of a verbal disability hate crime.
Gavin (26), from Anstruther, who studied acting and performance at the College for three years, will showcase, ‘The Bus Stop’, online over Zoom in the coming weeks.
Based on his own experience, the play’s premiere comes as he prepares to return to the College to speak with current performing arts students about his studies, the challenges he overcame and where his career has taken him.
Since graduating from the HND Acting and Performance course in 2015, Gavin has been working with Active Inquiry, a theatre in education project which has toured Scotland, while he has regularly performed with the Edinburgh based Lung Ha Theatre Company, the leading theatre company for people with learning disabilities in Scotland.
He has also written a number of reviews for the Lung Ha Theatre Company’s website.
Gavin, a former pupil at Waid Academy in Anstruther, said:
“The play came about through the fact that I had experienced a verbal disability hate crime about two and a half years ago. I wasn’t sure how to move forward after the event and then a friend of mine suggested I write my thoughts down and that would help with the healing process. The only way I know how to write is in script format, so I sat down and wrote what is actually the second scene of the play.”
“Staging my play under the current circumstances has been challenging as initially it was going to be done onstage as a rehearsed reading but due to current circumstances that is not possible. However, doing the show online and finding a way through these difficulties is very exciting and I can’t wait to show this to an audience.”
“I'm also looking forward to speaking to the current students when I visit the College as I want to tell them about my experiences in the arts but also show them that although I have a disability I've managed to achieve what I have, and that they can do that too.”
“During my time at college I found both the learning support department, particularly Jaqueline Carroll, and the lecturers, namely Tina West, to be incredibly supportive. They really helped me understand the course more and that it's ok to ask questions.”
“I learned a lot from college and the incredible experience I've had so far but there's still so much to learn I just want to continue to grow as a performer and develop and enhance new skills.”
Throughout his time at College Gavin, who requires the use of a wheelchair, was supported by lecturers and classmates to move in and out of his chair while a Mary Leishman Scholarship award also allowed Gavin to take lessons which helped enhance his mobility.
Offered through the College’s Adam Smith Foundation and awarded by Jim Leishman in memory of his late wife Mary, the scholarship allowed Gavin to undertake lessons in the Alexander Technique, a technique which explores posture, stance and breathing and how they are connected to each other. Gavin said:
“Being awarded the Mary Leishman Scholarship was incredibly beneficial to me as it allowed me to take lessons in the Alexander Technique. Due to costs these lessons would not have been possible without the award from The Adam Smith Foundation.
Gavin’s former lecturer, Tina West, is excited to be welcoming him back to the College. Tina said:
“We are delighted to welcome Gavin back to speak with our current students about his experiences.
“We have two students in our current class who are wheelchair users so I’m sure Gavin’s journey as an actor will be particularly interesting and inspiring for them. These students have to achieve the same assessment conditions as everyone else, yet the physical and psychological barriers are much greater.”
“Gavin worked so hard in his time here, supported by a great inclusion team, because he had to fit in and match able bodied actors. He did this beautifully and I am really proud to see him doing so well now.”
For more information about Acting and Performance courses available at Fife College visit our course pages.
Further details about the College’s Scholarship Programme, the Adam Smith Foundation, can be found here.
Photograph: Former Fife College student Gavin Yule is pictured during a production by the Lung Ha Theatre Company.