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8 March, 2021

Aaron’s blind ambition pays off

Vision impairment has been no barrier for Cairns local Aaron Lee to fulfil his dream of writing a play, thanks to a collaboration between Tropical Arts and ARC Disability Services.

By Tanya Murphy

Playwright Aaron Lee workshopping his play with Tropic Arts coordinator Avril Duck.

The 26-year-old first-time playwright has harnessed his creativity and poured his “heart and soul” into his play, ‘True Friends,’ a comedy about two young women who become friends and flourish.

Tropical Arts runs an all-inclusive theatre workshop called ‘Inclusive Explorers’ every Monday evening at ARC Community Hub, with their annual ‘Shakespeare at the Tanks’ productions proving a big hit with the community.

Mr Lee, who has lived with a vision impairment called retanoprophy since birth, has been involved as an actor for many years but recently moved into scriptwriting and penned his first original play with the assistance of writing software WriteADuet.

Borrowing from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and transforming it with his own unique spin, Mr Lee’s play takes the audience into a quirky and fresh but relatable world with a touch of wit, singing, and dancing.

“I put a lot of hard work, effort and passion into this play,” said Mr Lee.

The Inclusive Explorers group has spent the past six weeks developing and workshopping the script with Mr Lee in the hope that it will one day be performed as a full production.

To assist with the artistic process of developing the play, three selected scenes will be read and performed to the public tonight, Monday, March 8 from 6:15pm at ARC Community Hub, 52 Macnamara Street.

The event is open to all community members, and may be particularly interesting for those who are interested in script writing, script development and the process involved.

“A live script-reading and workshop like this is great for a first-time writer to get feedback so we can then go back and develop it further,” said Tropical Arts Assistant Coordinator Claire Tierney.

New members are welcome to the ‘Inclusive Explorers’ program. Ensemble training is also held at the ARC Hub on Sunday afternoons.

Tropical Arts is also gearing up for its 13thannual Shakespeare at the Tanks production, ‘Hamlet and the Climate Emergency.’ Anyone interested in joining in as an actor, creative, backstage, technician, or volunteer is encouraged to join.

To attend the ‘True Friends’ reading, or to sign up for any Tropic Arts programs, booking is essential. Enquire via

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