Lancing group tackles topic of autism in play

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AN amateur dramatic group from Lancing will explore the challenges of autism when it performs a play about a man who has the condition.

Lancing Repertory Players will present Apartment of the Feign, a drama about Bert, a man with autism.

The play’s action focuses on Bert’s vivid mental life and the tragic external events which invade his flat.

The play will run at Lancing Parish Hall, in South Street, from Thursday, April 18, to Saturday, April 20.

It has been held to coincide with World Autism Awareness Month, held in April.

This year, in the run-up to World Autism Awareness Day, the National Autistic Society has been raising awareness by each day tweeting common myths and facts about autism.

Lancing Rep’s performance will support awareness activities by devoting one page of the play’s programme to reprinting a selection of these myths and facts.

Speaking at one of the final rehearsals in Lancing, the play’s Director, Jody Bull, said: “I nearly passed up the opportunity to stage Feign as I thought the treatment of autism might be too controversial.

“However, as I have a nephew who has severe autism, I thought I could approach the matter with the respect it deserved.

“On talking to his father, my brother, some resonances he felt in the play’s themes made me want to grab this with both hands.

“Bert’s autism, and more so the prejudices he faces, gives Feign the potential to be a truly powerful piece.”

Feign marks a new vein for Lancing Rep, showing a willingness to tackle more challenging subjects compared with its recent plays.

Steven Knopf, from Lancing Rep, added: “Reaction in Lancing so far to the publicity shows the message is getting across.”

Tickets, at £8, can be ordered online at lancingrep.co.uk/feign.html or from 01903 243 558 or by sending a cheque made payable to Lancing Repertory Players to Box Office, 39 Melrose Avenue, Worthing, BN13 1NU.