A YOUNG man with Asperger syndrome has overcome his difficulties to produce and perform in his own musical.
Anthony Davies, 20, struggled with mainstream school to the point where he spent two years being home educated.
He has now set up his own theatre company and produced a show entitled Musicals and More.
Anthony said: ‘I had real social and learning difficulties which resulted in me being taken out of school. I was very easily distracted and found it difficult to communicate. I knew what I was expected to do but didn’t really know how to do it.’
Mother, Jennifer Davies, added: ‘As well as being on the autistic spectrum, Anthony also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). At the age of six he was withdrawn from school due to his heightened anxiety. He learnt social skills which meant that when he returned to school he would feel less awkward and uncomfortable around people.’
Jennifer credits Anthony’s discovery of musical performance as playing a crucial role in his subsequent social development.
‘Anthony always loved to sing and in Year 9 he joined Stagecoach Performing Art School in Havant. Finding musical theatre was the best thing for Anthony. The confidence he has developed from performing on stage is something nothing else could have given him,’ she explained.
Anthony added: ‘Music has always been a passion of mine. Performing on stage has given me an incredible layer of confidence which I didn’t know I had.’
The production is a culmination of six months work and includes a compilation of 21 songs from musicals including Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent and Hamilton.
‘I came up with the idea at the start of November and discussed it with the musical director. It was then a case of putting the show together and casting people for roles. The cast are all people I have performed with before. People were invited to audition with a song of their choice. The first rehearsal when everyone was together was so exciting,’ said Anthony.
Anthony hopes that the success of his first production can help other children and young people to overcome aspergers.
‘I have come a long way and am very proud of my progress. If there are other people out there on the autistic spectrum who would like to do something similar then hopefully this can spark something in their mind. Music could also possibly be their release,’ he explained.
Jenna added: ‘I can’t wait to see the show and am so proud of what he has achieved. I hope this can help other children who may be diagnosed with a condition. It is important not to set limitations on children and let them follow their interests and you can be amazed by what they achieve. Anthony is an example of that.’
The performance will take place at Hayling Island Community Centre on April 20 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the door.