Media release: Mind The Gap tackles learning disability and parenthood at the Fringe

Mia Image

HAVING kids is not an easy decision: Can I cope? Can I afford it? Have I got enough room? Will I be a good mum? Will I screw it up?

Now imagine making these decisions if you have a learning disability.

Woah – wait a minute… Learning-disabled parents? Erm, can they do that? Do they even have sex? Yes, yes ‘they’ do.

Bradford-based Mind the Gap, acknowledged as England’s largest learning disability theatre company (the only learning disability theatre company performing at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017), are bringing their latest production, Mia: Daughters of Fortune, to Summerhall – Tuesday 8 to Sunday 27 August 2017, except Mondays (14.45 to 15.45) – as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mia is a fast-moving, raw and eye-opening production that explores the truths and myths about learning disability and parenthood in today’s society, a piece of theatre dealing with humanity that will resonate with everybody with or without a disability.

Powerfully performed by four professional learning-disabled artists, Alan Clay, Alison Short, JoAnne Haines and Anna Gray – and created and directed by Mind the Gap’s resident director, Joyce Nga Yu Lee – Mia challenges the often taken for granted idea of ‘being a parent’.

Using recorded video and live camera work, a surreal game show, dance and movement and audience interaction, together with accomplished, engaging and graceful physical performances, Mia’s hard-hitting central message is that parents with learning disabilities face an uphill struggle against a well intentioned but sometimes inflexible system to win the right to have and, most importantly, keep their children.

“The issue of learning disability parenthood is impossibly complex and the performance is composed to reflect this complexity,” explains Joyce Nga Yu Lee, who is herself pregnant.

“Think pop culture with popcorn, science with silliness and stories with statistics; Mia is structured with a series of non-linear episodes strung together with a progressive narrative arc.

“The episodes vary in form and pace, from high energy pop dance to intimate acting, low tech object manipulation to live feed camera and loop pedal.”

Having kids is not an easy decision for any of us. Imagine making these decisions if you have a learning disability. Mia is grounded on real accounts with the team collecting real life stories from parents with a learning disability.

Joyce Nga Yu Lee added: “Medical experts, geneticists, social workers, council officers and advocates have all been involved in the creation of this piece. But the most important people involved are the learning disabled parents who have shared their stories with us.”

Mia originally toured studio venues around the UK in autumn 2016 receiving outstanding reviews.

It will tour in autumn 2017 and spring 2018 with performances already confirmed at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, and Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax.

See links below to recent reviews and media coverage.

For downloadable images of MIA: Daughters of Fortune please go to:


Media contact:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:|

M: +44 (0)7913 951717

Performance information, ticket prices and box office details

Show name: MIA: Daughters of Fortune

Venue: Old Lab, Summerhall (Venue 26), Summerhall Place, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Dates: Tuesday 8 to Sunday 27 August 2017 – Not Mondays

Performance Time: 14.45 – 15.45 (Running time: 1 hour)

Ticket prices: Tuesday 8 – all tickets £6.00 / Wednesday 9 – Sunday 27 August (not Mondays) – £5.00 / £8.00 / £10.00

Box Office:

Summerhall: 0131 560 1581 /

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: 0131 226 0026 /

Age Suitability: 14+

For more information on Mind the Gap and Mia, visit

Mind The Gap on Twitter –

Mind The Gap on Facebook –

Mind The Gap on Instagram –

Mind The Gap on You Tube –

Recent coverage:

Interview with Joyce:

Review of Mia (from Friday’s preview show):

BBC Radio Leeds Interview: (43 minutes in)

“Thought provoking, devoid of self-pity and stylishly presented, Mia is a stimulating examination of an issue that demands wider consideration.” David Cunningham, Manchester Theatre Awards

“Such a monumental subject matter could have the potential to be heavy and difficult to discuss; however, Mind the Gap excel at making this sensitive subject accessible and manage perfectly to approach things from a no nonsense and honest point of view. They bring their own unique brand of humour which cleverly pokes fun at the ridiculous and absurd way in which people with learning disabilities are at times treated.”

  • The company recently hosted a small preview of this new version in its own studios and had a great response with online magazine, Culture Vulture, saying: “Alan Clay is outstanding” and “Anna, JoAnne and Alison deliver accomplished and graceful performances”.
  • Mind the Gap was established in Bradford in 1988 and still operates there from the iconic Lister Mills
  • There are currently 15 actors in the theatre company.
  • Mind the Gap announced this year that it will continue to be funded through the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio from 2018 – 2022 enabling it to continue developing the talents of artists with learning disabilities and deliver bold, world-class theatre.

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Contact: Paddy Cuthbert