Oliver Hetherington-Page has been awarded the Access Arts Achievement Award for 2022 for the of creation of Santa Claus is Autistic, a new cabaret work that will have its premier season at Redlands Performing Arts Centre in 2023.
Oliver is a neurodiverse theatre-maker who debuted his cabaret The No Bang Theory at the Billie Brown Theatre as part of Undercover Artist Festival in 2021. Due to rave reviews the show was taken to The Wynnum Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, HOTA on the Gold Coast and The PIP theatre, with plans to continue the show into 2023.
Santa Claus is Autistic was thought up by Oliver Hetherington-Page and aims to highlight the contrast the disabled experience of a fictional outsider, to the very real lived experiences of autism. “If anyone other than Santa made a list and checked it twice to divide people into either naughty or nice, society would be fast to diagnose and ostracise,” said Oliver.
The piece will feature a neurodiversity choir and will give voice to fostering a better understanding of the barriers and challenges faced by those with autism. Being able to produce a work that uses an authentic voice to accurately portray lived experience has been well received in the community with generous support of the project.
Along with helping him to develop and produce this piece, the grant allows Oliver to reunite with fellow creatives, Director Lewis Jones and musical director Timothy Forrester, who helped make his last cabaret The No Bang Theory so successful.
Oliver has plans to premier Santa Claus is Autistic in the second half of 2023
The Access Arts Achievement Award is sponsored by CPL – Choice, Passion, Life, one of Queensland’s leading disability service providers.