Elaina Bell has loved the idea of performing her whole life.
But it wasn't a reality until a group of people catering to performers with neurodiverse conditions formed in 2018.
From there Elaina felt at home. She returned to Uncertain Curtain Productions this year for their new play Bubble Bubble.
"It's really important for theatre companies to include everyone no matter how inexperienced or experienced the may be or what differences they may have," she said.
"I have found with other theatre groups that if you don't fit the mould, you don't get the good parts or included very much.
"With (founder Sarah-Jane Fawcett), it has been a lot of fun meeting other performers who are on the (autism) spectrum or have a neurodiverse condition."
Neurodiverse disorders can include ADHD, autism-spectrum disorders, bipolar, sensory process disorder, depression, panic disorders or Aspergers.
Elaina has hyperactive sensory processing disorder which can overwhelm her at times.
"My disorder overprocesses information coming in," she said. "Sometimes it can just too much to be somewhere because its too loud or there's a strong smell."
Rehearsals with Uncertain Curtain cater for the neurodiverse disorders, something Elaina appreciates.
"They have done a lot of hard work trying to not overwhelm everybody at once, giving you time to recharge your social batteries between rehearsals, and letting (what we have learnt) sink in so we can practice it before next rehearsal," she said.
"They offered to let me come in later when everyone had gone, so I can practice, but I like to work with everyone. I am able to have my earmuffs with me or take a break when I need it."
Uncertain Curtain Productions has expanded to allow neurotypical cast members this year in an effort to reduce the stigma around neurodiverse disorders.
Olivia Jacobs is a neurotypical performer working with the neurodiverse cast for the first time.
She teaches at Props Theatre and has previously performed with Bendigo Theatre Company and Nexus Youth Theatre Bendigo as well as tried her hand at directing.
"It's a really calm and fun environment and very different to what I am used to," she said.
"The stresses have been kept to a minimum and it is running very smoothly.
"It has been a real eye opener to work with people who are neurodiverse. It creates a lot of empathy and understanding."
Similarly, Elaina has learnt from the neurotypical cast members.
"It is a great opportunity for people on spectrum who might not be good at socialising to do something they love," she said.
"When I'm there I learn from people and hopefully they learn from from me."
Uncertain Curtain Production of Bubble Bubble is at the Engine Room in View Street on May 17 and 18 at 7pm and May 18 and 19 at 2pm.
Visit www.bendigoregion.com.au for tickets.
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