International autism campaigner Dr Anna Kennedy OBE, in association with Pineapple Performing Arts, hosted the annual Autism’s Got Talent (AGT) yesterday 4th May 2019 at The Mermaid Theatre in London.
I’m grateful to have been invited to see the show and I’m really glad I came. As I mentioned on Twitter that my Saturday night usually meant watching Britain’s Got Talent – but that night was something more spectacular.
AGT is part of Anna’s ongoing campaign to support children and adults with autism. Since its inception in 2012, AGT has received high media attention.
The star-studded event showcased amazingly talented performances by adults and children with autism. The performers consist of singers, actors, musicians and dance troupes – they all waved the flag for autism and showed what people with autism are capable of.
The event is growing in popularity each year, and 2019 has firmly cemented its status as a leading charity and autism event. ‘We aim to continue to build Autism’s Got Talent year by year and we want all those involved to have fun, do what they love, make friends and be themselves, and have one night which is all about them, ‘Anna shares.
Celebrities who have previously supported the event include: Robin Windsor; Kasey Ainsworth; John Paul Rock Horsley; Dame Esther Rantzan; John Bercow; Carrie and David Grant; Debbie Moore OBE; Ian Royce; Dr Pam Spurr; Steve Hewlett; Mitch Winehouse; Denise Welch; Lauren Lovejoy; Caprice; The Gilbey Family (from Googlebox); Emma Noble, and many more. This year’s VIP guests were Katie Price and Harvey, Dr Pam Spurr, X Factor finalist Gio Spano and actor Richard Mylan.
Autism’s Got Talent provides an excellent platform and great opportunity to replace stigma with hope, fun and inclusion. This charity event is unique to any other projects across the world. Most of the acts have springboarded into exclusive opportunities and the audience felt a rare emotion of hope and belonging. Personally, I felt that I was part of a unique network and realised that anything is possible.
I have witnessed a huge variety of performers with 16 talents from across the country, and one from India. In previous years there has been a stand-up performer, harpist, rappers, young author, acclaimed ballet dancer, opera singers as well as a bone breaker, who is now the face of Calvin Klein.
With more than 500,000 people diagnosed with autism in the UK it is easy to simply label these people. The fact is that autism is an often-misunderstood disorder and while it can be difficult for those affected to express themselves, they are often highly intelligent and able people who can achieve extraordinary things, but often in their own way.
Recognising the uniqueness of those with autism, Anna – who has two sons with the condition – has worked tirelessly to find ways of recognising the ability (not the disability) in these individuals.
Describing the event Anna Kennedy said: ‘This is a great opportunity for those with autism to get up on stage and really show what they can do. So often society views these people as difficult and uncommunicative, but this event really dispelled stigmas with some fantastic talents on display.’
Autism’s Got Talent is based solely on inclusion and there needs to be much more in society. You can find out more about AGT by visiting their website.