Interview with a baby?

Have you ever seen an interview with a baby?

Us neither.

But here's artist Cian Binchy on why you shouldn't treat him like one.

What inspired your piece in MADHOUSE re:exit?

The fact that as somebody with a learning disability, people think that I haven’t developed any further than childhood. And that I am preferably, you know, a child trapped inside an adult’s body.  That I am A-sexual, that I don’t have any desire to move on with my life, and I’m not going to understand the things in life that are simple or accessible.

Do you feel that people with learning disabilities are institutionalised still?

What I have learned is pretty shocking. I’ve learned that it’s only, I think in the late 80’s or possibly even 90’s, that they’ve shut these institutions down. That’s very shocking. A lot of the people there were not diagnosed with any particular disability they were just diagnosed as general feeble minded as they said then, generally like an idiot. I’ve learned that people were treated very badly in those homes and it gave them a secondary handicap, it gave them mental health problems. That’s the same principle, now we’re locked up in institutions, we’re locked up in our own homes, and that gives you a secondary handicap. It gives me a secondary handicap with my mental health, totally. So it’s a double problem, the learning disability, and the mental health problem.

Do you think that the changes the government are making are having a negative impact on people with learning disabilities?

They’re not helping anyone that’s not white, heterosexual, middle class and rich.

What’s one thing you’d like an audience to take away from MADHOUSE re:exit?

I would like the audience to laugh, and feel uplifted and feel moved. But also for them to think, ‘oh my goodness, you know, people with learning difficulties, we’ve really got to do our bit to help, all of us.’ And that although I’ve got a serious learning difficulty, because I don’t believe there’s a mild one, but I do believe that I am entitled to have the same opportunities as everyone else in life.

What is your creative process?

With a little help from Access All Areas and a creative enabler. I write things down, I write things in little sheets, and I kind of record them on my phone, and it could be a load of rubbish and see what comes up.

Why should people come and see MADHOUSE re:exit?

People should come and see it because it is bloody, bloody important. There aren’t many shows or many things in the arts or tv that feature autism or learning difficulty. Often, it’s hidden away, and it’s treated as if it doesn’t exist. In the media, they just show a ‘normal’ family, with ‘normal’ lives, there’s your ‘normal’ middle class family, there’s your ‘normal’ working-class family. No people with disabilities, people with disabilities are not featured in the arts and this is something very new. I’m not the only performer with autism, but I’m one of the few performers with autism.

Interview with the Escapist

MADHOUSE re:exit enters rehearsals on Monday.

Before then, listen to the Escapist, David Munns, on why you should see the piece - and why he might know more than you think...

What inspired your piece in MADHOUSE re:exit?

Several things. The way things are going. Another thing was magic and illusion and the fact that things aren’t always what they seem. Saying that you don’t have to accept the box that they put you in. People only see what they want to see, they don’t see the bigger picture. It’s a sort of sly wink, we know more than you think

Do you feel that people with learning disabilities are institutionalised still?

Things are a bit free-er now, but there are still problems. Money is one of them, it all comes back to money. There’s a line in the show, ‘follow the money, follow the money’.

Do you think that the changes the government are making are having a negative impact on people with learning disabilities?

To a certain extent. It’s not as bad as it was, but it’s not as good as it could be. But I do worry about this government. I think it’s full of idiots.

What’s one thing you’d like an audience to take away from MADHOUSE re:exit?

I think that they should understand that we have a sense of humor and that we understand a bit more about the world than people seem to think.

What is your creative process?

I’m not just a writer, I’m not just an actor, I’m a writer as well and a designer. So I had a lot of visual input into what I’m doing. Sometimes we’d have a chat, sort of like a stream of consciousness kind of thing, and that would make us think ‘oh, I can take that, and that’.

Why should people come and see MADHOUSE re:exit?

Basically, because I think it’s a brilliant piece of theatre. I think that there are a lot of positive things to be taken from it. It’s basically telling you that you should question everything, always remember that.