Lee Matthews convenes workshop to develop disability comedy

Lee Matthews.

Producer Lee Matthews is teaming up with Steve Kearney and Lisa Wang to develop Caper’ble, a 6 x 30′ comedy about young people with disability who are forced to live together in shared accommodation.

The producers are staging a two-day workshop at Arts Access Victoria in South Melbourne, starting tomorrow, led by Kelly Lefever and supported by Film Victoria.

The concept was created by Matthews and Kearney, who are collaborating with lead writer Alistair Baldwin and story consultant Eliza Hull.

Baldwin and Hull have lived experiences of disability, as have the other workshop participants Olivia Muscat, Chris Bunton, Anna Seymour and Imaan Hadchiti.

Matthews tells IF he decided to join forces with Kearney (Bad Girl, Oddball) and Wang (Frayed, Please Like Me, The Family Law) because he’s convinced that will enable Aussie producers to best compete in the new global landscape.

He is confident Caper’ble will appeal to broadcast or on-demand platforms and that it has the potential to be a returning series.

Baldwin is a writer and comedian who has written for the ABC’s The Weekly, Hard Quiz and Get Krack!n, also appearing in the latter as Matthew, the two Kate’s very tired PA.

In 2019 he was selected to be a part of First Stage, an initiative run by Melbourne Theatre Company and the Emerging Writers Festival that takes four writers from other mediums and helps them develop their first play script. He was a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow for 2018, through which he is working on Invalid Memoir, a collection of auto-fiction pieces on being cool (figuratively) and being lame (figuratively and physically).

He is also host and producer of ‘crowdwork,’ a night of improvised stand-up where comics can only do crowd work with no prepared material.

Hull is a songwriter, song producer, author, screenwriter and TV producer who has a neurological condition known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

While pregnant with her daughter, she felt unrepresented in parenting books, so she created We’ve Got This, a series which shares the stories of Australian parents with disabilities.

She has written music for American TV shows Awkward, Teen Wolf and Saving Hope. Last year she wrote and produced the TV episode And Then Something Changed about the experience of having a disability as a child, which aired on ABC ME as part of the Disrupted initiative. She is also the access and inclusion coordinator for Arena Theatre.

Muscat has written about disability and the arts and is co-founder and co-host of The YA Page. Sight-impaired, she received the Lesley Hall arts and disability scholarship last year.

An actor, gymnast and dancer who happens to have Down Syndrome, Bunton made his feature film debut in Abe Forsythe’s Down Under and has since appeared in Doctor, Doctor, The Other Guy, Forsythe’s Little Monsters and Jonathan Ogilvie’s upcoming Lone Wolf. Currently he is studying film at AFTRS via Bus Stop Films.

Hadchiti is an Australian comedian and actor of Lebanese descent. He and his sister Rima Hadchiti have Rima Syndrome, a rare genetic condition resulting in small stature but normal proportions. He is 107 cm (3 ft 6 in) tall and many of his comedy routines focus on the way people of normal stature react to him.

He has performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and he made his TV debut as a possum in the SBS series Wilfred.

A Melbourne-based contemporary dance artist, Seymour was born profoundly Deaf and uses Auslan and English to communicate. She completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Dance) in 2012 and has worked for various companies and choreographers.

She co-founded The Delta Project, a dance company employing Deaf and hearing-impaired performers and has taught dance workshops for Deaf young people, people with disability, professional dancers and physical theatre performers with a focus on inclusive dance practice.

In 2017 she was awarded a dance residency in New York through the Australia Council of Arts and a residency in Berlin through Arts Access Australia.