THE NUMBERS of people attending and performing at the Warragul parasteddfod – a section of the annual West Gippsland Music & Drama Eisteddfod – each year are continuing to rise.
Above: a dance group performs. Photo from the West Gippsland Music & Drama Eisteddfod's Facebook page.
This article was first published in the 15 August 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Get your copy from retailers across the region today.
President of the eisteddfod’s organising committee, Pauline Hastings, told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the section had grown rapidly since its creation three years ago.
“It’s doubled in size each year we’ve done it, so this year’s is the longest session we’ve ever had, which is a full morning and a bit,” Ms Hastings said.
“There were about 20 acts this year [and] probably about 70 or so participants. This was a bumper year. I really don’t know how many people were in the audience but I would hazard a guess at about 200 to 300 people.”
The parasteddfod category pulled performers from across west and central Gippsland and is the only one of its kind in the state.
“Performers have come mostly from around Warragul area, but Morwell is our furthest distance,” Ms Hastings said.
“The idea evolved a few years ago at an eisteddfod conference. We heard about a few other eisteddfods interstate, I think we’re the only one in Victoria doing a parasteddfod, doing sections for special needs.
“We thought ‘well, people who do have special needs aren’t entering our mainstream eisteddfods,’ so we felt we would like to make a special division for them and we made up the name.”
Unlike many other categories, the parasteddfod is non-competitive, giving only encouragement and participation awards.
Anyone with a disability can enter.
“There’s a lot of support in the community and people with family members who have disabilities are all behind us. Everybody’s got such joy and they are so excited about it,” Ms Hastings said.
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