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Disabled thespians thrive

January 15, 2017

Inspiring talk

Inspiring talk:  Hand in Hand Capable Theatre member Hui Yuk-ching shares his personal story to encourage positivity in students.

Integration promotion

Integration promotion:  The group's volunteer ambassador Flora Lai (centre left) visits schools and community centres to teach the able-bodied how to interact with the blind.

Thespian training

Thespian training:  Since its establishment, the drama group has trained over 160 disabled and able-bodied people.

Talent unleashed

Talent unleashed:  Hand in Hand Capable Theatre Artistic Director Rensen Chan says disabled people can use their talents to contribute to society.

A car accident 15 years ago left Hui Yuk-ching partially paralysed.


Wheelchair-bound and cooped up at home, he refused to meet anyone for two years.


His ailing and depressed state worried his parents a lot.


“When I heard the doctor said I had to use a wheelchair and rely on others for the rest of my life, I wanted to end my life.


“After these two years of depression, I saw my parents’ health worsen. I woke up and started to face the situation positively.”


In 2013, Hui joined Hand in Hand Capable Theatre, a drama troupe for the disabled, to learn about acting.


Set up in 2013 with backing from the Labour & Welfare Bureau Community Investment & Inclusion Fund, Hand in Hand Capable Theatre is the first platform in Hong Kong for the disabled to learn acting and perform on stage alongside able-bodied people.


In drama lessons, Hui learned vocal skills, improvisation, how to interact with other performers on stage and other acting skills.


As someone who has defied the odds to pursue his goal, he visits schools, rehabilitation centres, elderly homes and community centres to perform and share his experience.


“I want to inspire others. I hope I can help more people. I feel happy helping others.”


Also overcoming her disability to shine on stage is Flora Lai.


Twenty years ago, she was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment.


“I went for a medical check-up recently. The optometrist told me my sight is deteriorating. I can only see four fingers when I hold my hand out in front of me.”


Promoting integration

Despite the debilitating handicap, Lai has completed an acting course and become a volunteer ambassador with the Hand in Hand Capable Theatre.


She visits schools and community centres to teach the able-bodied how to interact with the blind. 


“On the street some people are very kind and want to help us. However, we can be very afraid when they touch or push us. It is good to educate them on the appropriate ways to help us.”


Besides spreading the message about integration between the disabled and able-bodied, joining the drama group also helps her realise her dream of becoming an actress.


“I have loved performing since I was young.”


For Angel Li who has suffered from hearing impairment since she was young, joining the group has boosted her confidence a lot.


“I was not confident because I studied in mainstream schools. My classmates did not understand me. I was very unhappy.


“After joining this course, I am more willing to share my thoughts and become more confident.”


Unleashing potential

Since its establishment, the drama group has trained over 160 disabled and able-bodied people.


Hand in Hand Capable Theatre Artistic Director and founder Rensen Chan said many disabled people are interested in performing arts.


He set up the group to give everyone, irrespective of their differences, an equal chance to learn acting and perform on stage.


“I want people with different disabilities to know themselves better and influence each other. This can widen their horizons. I want the public to know that even disabled people can make good use of their talents and make contributions.”


Members of the group contribute by becoming ambassadors after completing the drama courses, staging performances and sharing sessions in the community.


Mr Chan said: “Our mission is not only to let our members gain something from the theatre, but also contribute by sharing their life experiences and promoting integration messages.


“We hope we can become self-financed in future. Participating in our group can be a career for the disabled. This is our long-term goal.”

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