“Arts is a human right, it’s a right to express ourselves and sometimes young people don’t have that opportunity.”
Alirio Zavarce knew from a young age he was born for a life in the Arts, learning how to play music after being given a free instrument and going on to join an orchestra.
The multi-award winning director and theatre-maker has what reads like an endless body of work both in the spotlight and behind the scenes for stage, TV and film productions.
“I know the value of the Arts, community work and youth theatre, and all of these possibilities,” Alirio said. “If I didn’t have the pathways offered to me, I wouldn’t be where I am and I believe it is my turn to offer these opportunities to people that sometimes don’t have it.”
Alirio is the Artistic Director for the not-for-profit innovative arts organisation, AJZ Productions, with enterprises of True North Youth Theatre Ensemble and disability-led theatre True Ability that all work within the Playford Community.
Alirio said his aim was to create, advocate and bring a new perspective to the artistic landscape of theatre in Australia.
The latest enterprise of True Ability has partnered with Playford 10, a City of Playford initiative, which is designed to develop young people’s life skill capacity within local schools.
“The fun part about collaborating with schools is that all the skills are transferable to any part of the curriculum,” Alirio said. “Just because we are doing theatre doesn’t mean this is not relevant to science or maths, and we are multi-dynamic in what we teach and how we create. “Theatre includes everything from geometry on the stage and how the body is being positioned to costume and design, visual arts, literature or writing.”
Alirio co-leads True Ability with former MP, advocate and writer Kelly Vincent – who both bring a wealth of experience in both disability and the arts.
“My eldest brother was blind and had an intellectual disability, so when I was born my mum told me to focus on the things he could do, not what he couldn’t do,” Alirio said. “That is a lesson I’ve taken all my life, finding the voice of the participant, what do they want to do, what makes them tick and how do we focus on abilities.”
Alirio said he loved the originality and the way in which each participant saw the world.
“We are just collaborating, creating and giving every opportunity for them to flourish and express their abilities,” Alirio said.
Elizabeth Vale Primary School student and participant in the program, Sammy, hopes to one day become a YouTuber ninja and gamer, and is already requesting his own personal cameraman to film his ninja squad.
“My favourite thing about drama is getting to see friends,” Sammy said. “I get to show everyone my ninja moves and talk about dragons.”
Ashley is also a participating student and wants to become a celebrity chef.
“I have been looking forward to drama,” Ashley said. “I want to be a chef and drama will help me with my cooking show.”