APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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Sensorium Theatre

Jun 22, 2020

Meet Francis ‘Frankie’ Italiano: Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Western Australia’s Sensorium Theatre.

When serendipity stepped in to inspire Frankie and wife Michelle Hovane, now Artistic Directors of Sensorium Theatre, they set off on a journey that has led them to creating Australia’s leading multi-sensory theatre for children with disabilities. We had the chance to speak with Frankie last year and couldn’t wait to speak to him again.

Francis was always being taken to a show of some sort by his mum, but it was a switched-on English teacher who introduced ‘Frankie’ to literature, theatre and poetry turning him into an admitted high school drama dag. Frankie would tell his teacher, Val, years later that the stone she cast in his life had rippled beyond himself and into the work he now does with Sensorium.

With a background in community cultural development in the Arts, Frankie is used to ‘presenting theatre to people who might not have encountered it before’.  ‘There is an impulse…to share stories that is integral to [the] development of humankind and the continuation of cultures’.

Michelle and Frankie are dedicated to bringing the thrill of live performance to special needs and inclusive audiences and subsequently their parents, teachers, and carers through the artform of immersive, interactive and participatory theatre.

For a webinar about techniques to convey story time into sensory story time and…the sorts of things you could replicate at home or at school. Watch Sensorium’s Michelle Hovane here.

Winners of the APATA 2020 Social Change Maker Award and the Australian Access Award for Best Not-for-Profit/Community Digital App, Sensorium was fortunate to secure organisational funding well before COVID-19 and as such are able to forge ahead with projects addressing the change in delivery of their intimate work and further develop their online presence while they wait for a return to touring next year.

‘I’m grateful that we [have been] able to forge our way into the cultural landscape … the fact that we’ve kind of stuck to our guns and are now at a point where people not only accept what we do but support it and encourage it and we’re getting kids into theatre who hadn’t accessed that before… that’s great!…it’s lucky in life to be doing what we love doing.’

WEBSITE: www.sensoriumtheatre.com.au

Facebook: @sensoriumtheatre

Instagram: @sensoriumtheatre

Audio quality – From East to West ZOOM did its best, the sound may dip, but you’ll get the gist😉


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