Monday, 16 November 2009

The New blacking up

Mentally disable actors are victims of mordern 'blacking up',says campaigner.

The mother of the first actress with Asperger's syndrome to play a fictional character with the condition has launched a campaign to stop actors "playing disabled".

Lizzy Clark was 14 when the BBC asked her to play the part of Poppy, a teenage girl with Asperger's, in the television film Dustbin Baby, starring Dakota Blue Richards and Juliet Stevenson. Based on Jacqueline Wilson's novel of the same name, the film has been shortlisted for an International Emmy, a British Academy children's award and the Bafta Kids' Vote awards. The award ceremonies will take place next week.

Lizzy's mother, Nicola Clark, has said that employing actors who are not mentally disabled to play characters with neurological impairments should stop. It is the "blacking-up of the 21st century", she said. "We need to break down these barriers. They're unacceptable and indefensible in a modern-day society, especially when there are so many good, disabled actors who are both ready, eager and able to take on these parts."

Lizzy, who had never acted professionally before her part in Dustbin Baby, said: "My Asperger's made some things on the film set difficult at first, like dealing with the sudden noise of the storyboard, but I was soon so focused on acting that I didn't notice anything else.

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