An awardwinning disabled poet performer and stan

first_imgAn award-winning disabled poet, performer and stand-up is hoping that her new show – based on more than 80 interviews with disabled and working-class people and benefit claimants – will provide an antidote to reality TV “rubbish” like Benefits Street.Jackie Hagan’s This Is Not A Safe Space combines poetry, stand-up, story-telling and “just gabbing for the audience”, and several sections where the audience hears recordings of her interviewees.The aim, she told Disability News Service, is to show the people she interviewed as “real fully-rounded humans rather than two-dimensional things you would read about in the newspaper”.Hagan (pictured) says she first became aware of how some people had a “horrific attitude” towards council estates and benefit claimants when she moved from her home town of Skelmersdale to attend university in Manchester in 2000.She says: “It was like, boom! Culture shock! And it took me a long time to get over it. It made me really ill.”The anger has been “rumbling” all her adult life, and she adds: “It has taken this long to get to a point where I can write about it because I’ve just been too angry for so long.”Those thoughts came together after she saw Ken Loach’s much-praised film expose of the disability benefits system, I, Daniel Blake.She says she is “happy the film exists” but was still left “fuming” by the realisation that Loach had been forced to portray the main character as “a saint” who does not smoke or take drugs or “have a massive telly” so he could secure the audience’s empathy.In her poem, I Am Not Daniel Blake, part of her new show, she says: “Don’t dismiss us as backward.“What we are is knackered, from cold, broken homes and a world that says you’re pointless, worthless, should give birth less, shouldn’t spend precious little cash on fags, booze, crap food, drugs, things that make it temporarily better.”Her new show was commissioned by the disability arts programme Unlimited and Contact Manchester and will be touring the UK in March and April.Hagan’s writing is beginning to attract serious attention.She has just been announced as one of five writers selected for the Your Voice, Your Story development scheme run by the hugely successful television production company Hat Trick, known for sitcoms such as Drop The Dead Donkey and Father Ted.Sky Arts has also shown interest in This Is Not A Safe Space.Her solo show Some People Have Too Many Legs won the 2015 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show, while her play Cosmic Scallies was commissioned by Graeae and ran at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer.  In previous shows, such as Some People Have Too Many Legs, she says she has tried to “look after” the audience, rather than shock them, and attempt to “make disability fluffy for people”.This time, she wants her audience to feel “unsettled” and “unsafe”, just like her interviewees, who told her that “people like us need safety nets, but the government thinks they can’t afford them”.She says: “The interviews I did, safety kept coming up… people worrying about losing their homes, it just kept coming up all the time. Their life is not safe. The idea of safety nets being pulled from underneath us.”There are two types of people she is hoping to attract to the show: those she wants to educate; and those who are under-represented in theatre, disabled working-class people, who she wants to come and see their lives portrayed on stage.Although she does not see herself as a political artist and says she has no “grand political plan” with the show, she says that “getting people to change their views on working-class and disabled people is definitely a political thing”.She hopes to undermine what she sees as the “othering” of people like her – viewing them as less than human – who are working-class, disabled and claiming benefits.She says: “It’s like people are trying to do that with people who need support, so they don’t have to give them that support, so they don’t need to deal with the problem.“It’s like if we ‘other’ people enough then people don’t have to feel guilty or a sense of responsibility. My role can be to ‘de-other’ people.”But she adds: “My skill is not shouting at people, it’s making sure that people understand that these are real people, and that you can empathise with people who aren’t saints, because none of us are.”The first interviews she carried out were with people she met at the Bluesci arts and wellbeing centre in Trafford, Manchester, where she runs creative writing and poetry workshops, but she then also interviewed people from her home town of Skelmersdale, often finding them by word-of-mouth.What surprised her in her research, though, was that the interviews were not unremittingly bleak.“People’s weren’t like, ‘woe is me,’ people were really getting on with it in the face of utter shit,” she says.“I expected it to be quite gruelling emotionally, but I had a laugh with most people.”There were “grim” exceptions, such as the landlord who described how six sex workers in the road outside his pub had died in the last year, with one of them freezing to death.Hagan represents this in the show with a pair of gloves on a table, and her fingers inching towards them.She uses this kind of “object manipulation” throughout the show, with different objects representing the people she interviewed.Underlying much of what she heard were concerns about the benefits system, with interviewees often needing to be reassured that their personal independence payment (PIP) claims would not be put at risk by their voices being recognised during the performance.“People are so scared of PIP and the benefits system,” she says. “If they put a word out of place, [they think] they are going to get done and [they will be] on the streets.“I wanted to use people’s voices, though, because people are just so interesting. The way people really speak. It’s just so human and nice.“I think sometimes that theatre misses out on that because it makes things too slick.”Her own PIP assessment was due to take place this week, and the show features two extreme and contrasting versions of an imaginary assessment.She says: “I’m partially-sighted, I’ve got one leg, my hands don’t work and I’ve got bipolar, but it’s not enough anymore [to qualify for PIP], is it?”She has said she wrote the show because she was “sick of seeing people like me misrepresented on rubbish shows like Benefits Street and ignored by theatre” and was “sick of people thinking we all just need to try a bit harder and stop spending our time drinking lager and watching our massive tellies”.She went through a period of watching Benefits Street. “I felt like I was seeing myself in it, to some degree, but then I realised how other people were viewing it. Not with warmth.“It was the fact that it was feeding people’s attitudes, that was what was terrifying, [the idea that] people on benefits are pointless.“You have really got to lead people by the hand into not hating people.”This Is Not A Safe Space will be at Creation Space, Basingstoke on 1 and 2 March; at the DeStress Fest at the Attenborough Centre, Leicester, on 23 and 24 March; at Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, on 30 March; and at Camden People’s Theatre, London, from 17 to 21 April. All performances will be BSL-interpretedlast_img read more

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A Mission Teens Path from SRO to City Hall

first_img 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The tech worker waved a piece of paper in front of Hugo Vargas and his friends.“We paid $27,” the man said, while another clapped his hands together and then motioned for the teenagers to leave a field near 20th and Valencia streets where they had been playing a pick-up game of soccer.They refused.“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you get to book the field for an hour,” said Kai, one of the local players, to the group of tech workers who were kicking them off the Mission playground field because they had paid for a permit to reserve it for an hour. “If you want to play pick-up, you play pick-up like the rest of us.”center_img A video recording of the September 2014 incident went viral, and Vargas and his friends suddenly found themselves at the forefront of a movement to save Mission Playground and other public spaces from a reservation system that they saw as denying them access. They attended a protest at City Hall that drew a crowd and they lobbied for change.Soon after, the city’s Recreation and Parks Department announced that it would end the permit program that had allowed players to purchase playtime at Mission Playground. With that experience, something inside of Vargas shifted.“We know now that we have our community on our side,” said Vargas. “[Before] I thought, we are just teens, no one is going to listen to us. We don’t have a voice.”Confronting Gentrification Others in City Hall took note and this month David Campos appointed the 17-year-old Vargas to the city’s Youth Commission.  The latter advises the city’s Board of Supervisors and Mayor on youth-related legislation.“I would not be surprised to see Hugo become supervisor one day,” said Hillary Ronen, legislative aide to Campos.Vargas said his story reflects the realities of many others in his community who are carrying the weight of the city’s issues – a vanishing middle class, the loss of public spaces and the criminalization of those who can’t afford to pay to use them, and astronomical rents that have displaced many families, including his own.At City Hall, Vargas hopes to use his voice to make a difference for them.“The city is just unfair to its communities, to the people who pay their taxes, to the people who work to survive like my parents,” said Vargas. “There are tax breaks for tech companies who don’t even give a cent back to the community but expect more from the city than any of us.”Lito Sandoval, President of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, which organized the rally at City Hall after the Mission Playground incident, called the incident a “rude awakening for the kids” in terms of the ramifications of gentrification.“It wasn’t just people getting kicked out of their homes and being replaced by wealthier people. They found that the places they normally would go to were changing also,” said Sandoval. “At the same time, they learned that they don’t have to accept that as ‘the way it is.”After Eviction Came DisplacementFor Vargas, the confrontation at Mission Playground was the moment he “figured out what gentrification was.”“It became a physical and visual thing that I experienced, and it scared the hell out of me,” he said. “People who are privileged…can pull out money whenever they want and say ‘I can pay for this, this is not a problem.’”And with this realization, Vargas said he became aware of the ways in which the city had failed him and his family.“It’s profits before people,” he said. “Mission playground was a big thing to show what the city is really about.”It also politicized him and introduced him to his own potential – one that he did not see living in a 10×10 foot Single Room Occupancy Hotel with his parents, two younger sisters, and a dog for some three years.“Most people who watched that [Mission Playground] video don’t know that Hugo was returning to an SRO room that day,” said Chirag Bhakta, an organizer with the Mission SRO Collaborative, who managed Vargas family’s case and became something like a mentor to the teenager.“If people went through the trauma that he went through, the anger of the [soccer field] incident, some people his age might direct that anger differently,” he said.In 2012, Vargas’ family was evicted from their Twin Peaks apartment after his father lost his job as a car mechanic. Unable to pay the market-rate rents, the eviction was quickly followed by the family’s displacement from San Francisco.“My dad started getting depressed, having anxiety. He couldn’t sleep at night,” Vargas remembered.The family moved to Richmond, but the commute was grueling and costly for the three children, who still attended schools in the city. Within six months, the Vargas family moved back to San Francisco, into an SRO near 16th and Mission streets.Vargas, who began suffering from insomnia, described this chapter in his life as “terrible.”He credits mentors like Bhakta with seeing him through. “He would come to our SRO to check-up on us, and he would text me to ask if I was going to school.”Future PlansVargas’ perseverance was again tested when he was tasked this summer with navigating the city’s affordable housing lottery.“During the process of getting a new apartment, it was taking forever to get the paperwork we needed,” said Vargas, who then took it upon himself to involve the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.An investigation into his family’s case showed that their SRO’s building manager had failed to sign off on necessary paperwork to move the process along.“It was a big role I had to take, to help my parents get a new apartment so they don’t feel stressed out,” said Vargas, whose parents immigrated from Mexico. “A lot of immigrants are afraid to ask for help.”Five weeks ago, as Vargas was preparing to start his senior year, his family moved into a two-bedroom apartment on Polk Street.“Things aren’t always going to go right for you, but you can do something about it,” said Vargas, adding that he will bring this experience to the Youth Commission, where he plans to make the issue of youth homelessness his priority.When asked if he could one day see himself in politics, Vargas said “definitely,” but only if a career as a pro athlete doesn’t pan out.  Soccer still plays large in his life – already, Vargas received a recruitment offer for a Midwestern college’s soccer team. last_img read more

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ROYCE Simmons has described his charges as dedicat

first_imgROYCE Simmons has described his charges as dedicated and professional as they prepare for the forthcoming Super League season.  Speaking ahead of Saturday’s friendly match with Huddersfield Giants, Saints’ Head Coach says the first team squad have handled everything thrown at them so far in pre-season.  “The season has come on pretty quickly but in another couple of weeks we will be ready for Wigan,” he said. “The boys are a dedicated mob of young fellas and have shown professionalism and are handling everything well at the moment.  “This weekend’s game against Huddersfield will be a lot more intense as they have consistently been one of the best teams throughout the course of the last few seasons.  “But the boys know they are playing for positions and need to crank up their intensity. I know people say it is a squad game, but I’m sure if you ask any of the players, they would rather be in the starting 13. This Saturday’s game is about finding out that.”  On the injury front, Royce said Josh Perry should return in late March: “Josh is running in straight lines and as long as we get no setbacks, we will start to build that up.  “Kyle Eastmond should be back, we are hoping, around game two or game three. He is starting to run with the boys and in the skills sessions but not in contact sessions. Jonny Lomax is going well.  “Jammer has an ongoing back problem but he will be fine.”  Meanwhile, Saints new captain will be named next week.last_img read more

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SAINTS are expecting a big following at the Magic

first_imgSAINTS are expecting a big following at the Magic Weekend and have just a few tickets remaining!They take on Warrington at the Etihad on Sunday (5pm) aiming to record their third win in a row.Demand for tickets has been high at Langtree Park and the message is to secure yours as early as possible as the club’s latest batch has just under 25 ‘unreserved’ tickets remaining.Saints fans will outnumber their Wolves counterparts and the atmosphere you create will be crucial as Nathan Brown’s men look to beat their Cheshire rivals for the second time this season.Season Ticket Holders get 50 per cent off their tickets and they can be bought at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052.Daily TicketsCategoryTypeRegular Price Season Ticket Holder PriceAdultConcAdultChild2Unreserved Seating£30 £15£15£7.50last_img read more

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SAINTS will continue their Super League preparatio

first_imgSAINTS will continue their Super League preparations when they take on Widnes Vikings this Sunday.Keiron Cunningham has indicated his side will be whittled to around 22 or 23 as he attempts to drill down ready for the league opener.“We will go with around 10 subs,” he said. “Getting to that final team for the game against Huddersfield is going to be difficult. We have a thick squad and a lot of them played pretty well last Sunday so it is going to be hard tapping people on the shoulder.“We had a good look at a number of different combinations and had players in different spots. I thought it went well and I was happy with where we was at.“Hopefully, the game on Sunday will be a good physical one. Widnes have recruited well and have got a good pack. That is something we want to be up against. We want to earn the right to do things instead of being gifted it.”Tommy Makinson could return for Sunday’s game with Adam Swift the week later at Swinton.Both had surgery in the off-season and need game time before the season kicks off.Meanwhile, Cunningham has outlined his plans for the halves this year.“I will go with whatever gives us the best balance,” he said. “When Theo (Fages) became available I jumped at it. He gives us depth in certain areas and is also the future of the club.“He looked very comfortable on Sunday given he has only one pre-season with these players. He went through off one play, scored another and then put Louie (McCarthy-Scarsbrook) through. That’s not bad for a first run out!“He can play hooker too at a push so that gives us cover and allows Robes a break.”He continued: “Travis Burns has trained well and is determined to do a lot of things this year. I hope he can because if he plays well and then Luke Walsh and James Roby play well too.“I am hopeful for him but if it doesn’t work out, and the same goes for anywhere in the squad, then we have got plenty of cover.”Saints will take on Widnes in the Karalius Cup at Langtree Park on Sunday January 24 (3pm).Tickets are priced at:Hatton’s Solicitors West & McLoughlin and Harvey East Stands: Members: £10 (adult), £8 (concession and 16-21), £5 (junior)Non Members: £12 (adult), £10 (concession and 16-21), £6 (junior)Solarking South & Totally Wicked North Stands:Members: £12 (adult), £10 (concession and 16-21), £5 (junior)Non Members: £14 (adult), £12 (concession and 16-21), £6 (junior)Members’ prices are available up until 4pm on Saturday.Hospitality is priced at:£25 (+VAT) for adults£15 (+VAT) for under 12sIncludes premium match seat, pre-match meal, lounge host, programmeTickets can be bought by popping into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

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ITS Saints v Hull FC tonight in the Betfred Super

first_imgIT’S Saints v Hull FC tonight in the Betfred Super League! Here’s a stat preview of the big game.Last Ten Meetings:St Helens 31, Hull FC 10 (SLS8-R4, 2/9/16)Hull FC 32, St Helens 24 (SLR16, 28/5/16)St Helens 18, Hull FC 47 (CCR6, 8/5/16)St Helens 16, Hull FC 17 (SLR9, 1/4/16)St Helens 22, Hull FC 32 (SLS8-R2, 14/8/15)Hull FC 10, St Helens 17 (SLR15, 22/5/15)St Helens 20, Hull FC 28 (SLR9, 6/4/15)Hull FC 19, St Helens 12 (SLR23, 1/8/14)St Helens 34, Hull FC 22 (SLR2, 21/2/14)Hull FC 12, St Helens 38 (SLR27, 6/9/13)Super League Summary:Hull FC won 15St Helens won 27 (includes win in 2006 Grand Final & wins in 2001 and 2006 play-offs)3 drawsHighs and Lows:Hull FC highest score: 44-6 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)St Helens highest score: 74-16 (H, 1999) (also widest margin)Head to Head:SaintsHull FCTries711Goals315Metres3,5163,504Breaks1311Tackles1,1081,059Penalties2326All-Time Leading Scorers:1 Neil Fox (Wakefield/Bradford/Hull KR/York/Bramley/Huddersfield, 1956-79) 6,2202 Jim Sullivan (Wigan, 1921-46) 6,0223 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, 1997-2015) 4,2314 Gus Risman (Salford/Workington/Batley, 1929-54) 4,0505 John Woods (Leigh/Warrington/Bradford/Rochdale, 1976-92) 3,9856 Mick Nanyn (Rochdale/Whitehaven/Widnes/Oldham/Leigh/Swinton, 1999-2015) 3,7007 Cyril Kellett (Hull KR/Featherstone, 1956-74) 3,6868 Kel Coslett (St Helens/Rochdale, 1962-79) 3,5459 Lewis Jones (Leeds, 1952-64) 3,44510 Danny Brough (Dewsbury/York/Hull FC/Castleford/Wakefield/Huddersfield, 2002-17) 3,440Milestones:James Roby needs one try to reach a career century of touchdowns. He has touched down 91 times for St Helens since 2004, to go with 7 tries for England (2008-2013 & 2015) and 1 for Great Britain (2006-2007).Super League Milestones:Danny Houghton – 1 appearance away from 250 (249 for Hull FC, 2007-2017)Consecutive Appearances:1 Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors) 502 Kyle Amor (St Helens) 423 Jon Wilkin (St Helens) 414 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) 405 = Michael Dobson (Salford Red Devils), Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity), Alex Walmsley (St Helens) 37Betfred Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 = Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers), Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers) 63 = Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Junior Sa’u (Salford Red Devils), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) 4Goals:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 202 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 153 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 144 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 135 Morgan Escare (Wigan Warriors) 9Goals Percentage:1 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 100.00 (15/15)2 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 92.85 (13/14)3 Sam Williams (Wakefield Trinity) 80.00 (8/10)4 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 76.92 (20/26)5 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 70.00 (14/20)(10 minimum attempts to qualify)Points:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 562 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 423 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 404 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 265 = Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers), Rhys Hanbury (Widnes Vikings), Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers) 24last_img read more

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Club First Team Match

first_imgRoby has been struggling in recent weeks with the injury and Holbrook confirmed in his post match press conference that his captain will undergo surgery to hopefully correct the matter this week.“Robes has been struggling with it, carrying a niggling injury for a while. He’ll get some minor surgery this week so he’ll probably miss four weeks,” Holbrook said.“Aaron Smith is a good player and will be back in next week.”If Holbrook’s prediction is correct, Roby is likely to miss games against Huddersfield, Leeds, Warrington and Hull FC before Wigan visit the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday 12th July.last_img read more

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Club First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgTwo first half tries for from Matty Fleming and Luke Yates either side of an Aaron Smith try and a Kieron Dixon penalty gave London an eight point lead at the break. In the second half Danny Richardson reduced the deficit after great work from Jack Welsby before tries from Alex Walker, Matty Gee and a second try from Fleming gave London a 32-12 victory in the capital.After the game, Josh Simm reflected on his debut and despite the defeat Justin Holbrook was proud of his young Saints.last_img

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Providing safety and warmth crossing guard offers students free coats

first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s the season of giving. A time when heartfelt stories of the gift of human compassion quickly spread and become viral.That’s what happened to Minnie Galloway, when her selfless deed captured the attention of many on social media Wednesday night and Thursday morning.- Advertisement – You see, Minnie is a crossing guard in front of Trask Middle School in New Hanover County. It’s a job she’s been doing for 19 years.“I’ve thought we’re special to have Ms. Minnie,” parent Amy Mathis said. “I’ve never known of a crossing guard like her before.”Her duty to keep children safe.Related Article: New Hanover County delays return date until Oct. 4Her self-imposed duty to try and keep children warm, as well.She went to the Salvation Army and got 30 coats.  Those coats came with her when she went to work on Wednesday and Thursday. She pulled out a coat rack, hung them up, and offered them to students for free.“Sometimes I don’t know if they have them or not. Some say they have them at home, but I don’t know I just let them go ahead and if they want them,” Minnie said.A simple act that speaks volumes.“You never know who is paying attention and I have some parent ya know stop by and say I appreciate you doing this for our kids,” Minnie said. “I have some people that come by that don’t even have any kids and let me know that they appreciate what I do and it makes me feel good.”A picture of Minnie and her rack of coats posted on Facebook shared nearly 1,000 times by Thursday afternoon. Nearly 200 comments, many from people who know Minnie, sharing their own stories of her giving ways, from offering students notebooks to umbrellas.last_img read more

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Town leaders want to remove and replace force main on Wrightsville Beach

first_img The latest spill was less than a week ago. The town reported roughly 19,000 gallons spilled into the ICW. That’s minor compared to the 75,000 gallons the spilled out of a ruptured force main in December.The town approved more than $33,000 for those December repairs.They also approved a resolution to have town engineers look at new water main pipes to replace the current one.Related Article: Swimming alerts issued for parts of Banks Channel at Wrightsville Beach“That pipe has been basically sitting in salt water for the most part since the 1980’s,” said town manager Tim Owens, “It needs to be replaced. It’s duct liner and we’re having issues with it. It was wrapped to begin with but you know with 30 plus years there’s issues there. So we need to move forward and try to find a way to replace that particularly before the tourist season.”Town leaders unanimously approved to look at replacing the old pipes at the site where the spills have been happening. The town’s goal is to put a newer pipe in before April. WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) – Two sewage spills into the Intracoastal Waterway nearly one month a part.Tonight leaders on Wrightsville Beach laid out a plan to put a plug on the spills.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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