JULIE Gardner is one of Queensland's most inspirational performers.
The 56-year-old actor, dancer and theatre producer says she always feels little nervous before going on stage but the moment she navigates her wheelchair into the spotlight her fears fall away.
Julie, who has cerebral palsy, is accomplished across a range of artistic disciplines including improvisation, character development and expression.
Her art has taken her on tour to Tasmania and she most recently starred in a production of Murder at Faph Manor in Brisbane.
"I really enjoy doing shows - it's very exciting,” she said of her involvement with the innovative Screech Arts theatre program.
"I do get nervous but I do breathing exercises when I go on stage and then I'm OK.”
Screech Arts alumni such as Julie have been impressing audiences across Brisbane, Toowoomba and Townsville for about 10 years now and soon there will be opportunities for hundreds more Queenslanders to shine as the inclusive and accessible performing arts school spreads its wings across the state.
Screech will expand into Booval, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Cairns, Southport, Moorooka and Capalaba next year and in 2019 it will open offer workshops in Gin Gin, Maryborough, Browns Plains and Varsity Lakes.
Coordinator Martina Cross said the CPL-funded program helped participants of all abilities improve communication, learn important life skills, build confidence and make friends through drama, acting, dance, film, music, singing, production, scriptwriting and set design.
"Whether you're passionate about drama, acting, dance, film, music, singing or production - or just keen to have a bit of fun - we believe the world can be anyone's stage,” Ms Cross said.
"Watching our participants grow and develop their creative spirit throughout the program is undoubtedly one of my favourite parts of the job.”
AT A GLANCE
The Screech Arts Program roll out schedule:
First half of 2018: Booval, Capalaba, Gladstone, Hervey Bay and Rockhampton.
Second half of 2018: Bundaberg, Cairns, Moorooka and Southport.
Throughout 2019: Browns Plains, Gin Gin, Maryborough and Varsity Lakes.
For more information visit www.screecharts.org.au or phone 1800 275 753.