Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Practivist of the Week - Lennie Varvarides - DYSPLA

How old are you, if you don’t mind?


What is the main focus of your practivism at this time and how does that manifest?

Since 2007, DYS(the)LEXI has been on a mission to revolutionize how people see and understand dyslexia. The festival is the first of its kind to challenge and celebrate the term “dyslexic,” proving that not only can we write, but that our dyslexia makes us better story practitioners!

I had this crazy idea that London needed yet another new writing festival. I had recently graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama where I finished with an MA in writing for performance and was full of this stuff called optimism. An opportunity came up for a cheap hire at Barons Court Theater and with the help of my friend Rachel Barnett, we set up DYSTHELEXI, the first festival to exclusively produced the work of dyslexic storymakers. It has been optimism, luckily, that has gotten me through the last five years.

This year marks five years of pushing and persuading. Five years of recruiting poets and performers and playwrights, five years of displaying what dyslexic creativity is and looks like. In a way, each festival is a research project and represents a live account of where the creative dyslexic community is and who our dyslexic contemporaries are.

The festival has proven to be a powerful network of shared energy; all involved are eager to raise awareness and celebrate art. This art, this literature this theater, this poetry, this music all made by dyslexic artists, dyslexic writers, dyslexic theater makers, dyslexic poets and dyslexic musicians.

There is a vibrant dyslexic community in London and every year this community attracts new and old dyslexics, who are eager to either come out of the closet, or are able to enjoy bathing in this new attitude of acceptance, bought about through all of our efforts to raise awareness.


What route did you take to get here?

I was never very good with directions; can't follow any route or set of rules, so I made my own up, one idea at a time. I don't take no for an answer and believe that whatever I do, I will find the right people to help me make it better. 

School was always a battle and I never quite found my feet until art school - there I found the freedom to imagine and realized that I had something most people have to work at - ideas - lots of them. Head so full of daydreams and fantasies that I never had much time for anything else. 

Don't knock the day dreamer, they are busy planning tomorrow!


(This is one in a series -- feel free to search this blog for "practivist" to find others!)

1 comment:

Lennie Varvarides said...

Thank you for taking the time to post this on your blog! Really appreciated the support in raising awareness about Dyslexic Narrative! xx