We find out what audiences think of new Unity Theatre show, Kerbs
1 year ago
The Unity Theatre’s latest production, Kerbs, offers a witty take on what it’s like being a 20-something disabled person who’s dating and negotiating their way through a relationship.
And there are a few parts of her own life director Nickie Miles-Wildin recognises.
“Navigating dating apps, navigating the word as a disabled woman and how I am seen by the world… and that travel can’t be as spontaneous as we would like it to be,” she says.
TV actress Maya Coates (McDonald and Dodds) makes her professional stage debut in the new production by leading disabled-led theatre company, Graeae.
Nickie explains: “Kerbs follows Lucy (Coates) and David (Jack Hunter) as they embark on a dating app.
“Their first date doesn’t go according to plan. There’s a trip to A&E, and they have to navigate many obstacles to enable them to fulfil their goal of having great sex together, including a train journey, Minehead, and Laser Quest!”
Obstacles are something Nickie is used to facing, not least in the last few years when Covid struck.
“It’s affected my work greatly as theatres were hard hit and I was also shielding for nearly two years,” she says. “I joined DaDa – Nickie is joint artist director and CEO of Liverpool’s DaDa which inspires, develops and celebrates talent in disability and Deaf arts – in March 2021, which was difficult as I didn’t get to meet people in person until November.
“Previous to this I was making a lot of work online and, however much I was grateful and enjoyed this work, Zoom fatigue definitely sets in.
“Being back in a rehearsal room has filled me with joy.”
Although growing up Nickie loved performing, she had planned to be an educational psychologist, but changed her mind in her final A-level year: “Theatre has always had my heart!”
Nickie stage managed and acted – that’s how she became involved with Graeae – and even appeared alongside Sir Ian McKellen in the 2012 opening ceremony of the London Paralympics, flying through the air as Miranda from The Tempest.
“I was originally a wheelchair dancer and then a month before the opening ceremony I was invited back to try flying in a harness. That audition was incredible! I was doing a roly-poly in the air. It felt so freeing.”
She moved into directing in 2015.
Nickie has lots of plans for DaDa: “DaDa is cross art form which is extremely exciting.
“We are currently working with Liverpool Philharmonic, Youth Music and Resonate, National Student Drama Festival, Alder Hey Hospital and many more.
“My aim is to make DaDA a beacon for disability arts in the North West and more, to develop artists and provide platforms for their work across Liverpool and the North West.”
Until then, she is excited about Kerbs which is on at the Unity Theatre until Saturday as part of a national tour.
She met Kerbs writer Michael Southan at Graeae and fell in love with the play: “It’s a play that made me laugh and feels so relevant today.
“It’s a story that we rarely see on stage or, indeed, anywhere. I’m so excited that we are bring it to audiences.”
Book tickets to see Kerbs at Unity Theatre here.
By Janet Tansley