Maria Ivașcu, sitting in a wheelchair in a rehearsal room, extends her hands to join them with a young man, who also has his hands extended

“Since I began acting, I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Fear. Fear kept me home. Fear wouldn’t let me talk to people. Fear prevents many people with disabilities from participating in society.

I am Maria Ivașcu and I am 20 years old. I am in the Alternativ theatre troupe and I support other people with disabilities to overcome fear and integrate into society. I always dreamt that one day I would perform, but never imagined that I would fulfill my dream. I never imagined that I would speak to so many people and explain that I can do the same things they can. I don’t have to stay home just because I use a wheelchair. Since I began acting, I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I am a person and I have equal rights.

My life has changed, and the lives of people with disabilities in the communities where we perform have changed as well. Our performances are designed to stop and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in schools and kindergartens. We show audiences the reality of the situation in their community. We then invite spectators to the stage and they offer solutions to help stop discrimination. Audiences learn that they don’t have to avoid people with disabilities, because we are all the same. We can all learn from each other.

For more information, read the Forum Theatre factsheet.