Some of us prefer to blend in and some of us were born to stand out. Introducing Iyad, an active volunteer in the community and a huge theatre geek.
If Iyad seems familiar, it’s because we’ve featured him before! His friendly disposition makes it easy to warm up to him, but life hasn’t been easy for Iyad. He suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, which means he falls on the autism spectrum, causing him to have certain quirks, such as repetitive behaviour.
Despite the challenges he faces daily, Iyad remains committed to leaving his mark through artistic expression. He mentioned that through his love of theatre, he managed to gain a better understanding of the socio-cultural issues that plague our society. He recalls starring in a play where he had to play a hallucinated character, part of the psyche of another character suffering from schizophrenia.
“The portrayal of mental illnesses, getting inside the mental space of the sufferers really helped me gain a new perspective”.
Like everyone else, many people just want to be accepted, theatre embraced him with open arms and taught him to do the same for others.
Performing Arts has become an outlet for him to be whoever he wants to be, it gives him the freedom to experiment and most importantly,
“It helps (him) understand the world better”
Reminiscing the first time he was exposed to theatre in Primary school, Iyad excitedly told us about the time he watched The Wizard Of Oz. According to him, it was very immersive with a powerful sound,
“almost like a magical TV”
Excitingly enough, he was not only a mentor, but also a mentee. Under the #TalentSpark Programme, he was introduced to Stuart, a lecturer from Laselle that taught him how to facilitate a class.
“Whatever I learnt so far doesn’t just apply to the theatre, but also in everything”
This experience inspired him to become an actor, and today, we are proud to say that he is actively performing and sharing his love for The Arts with the world. In fact, you can check out his youtube channel here
For the programme, Iyad organised a few activities that allowed participants to experience what it was like being in theatre, guiding them through warm-ups and activities that expanded their creative horizons.
The mentorship experience showed him that being an expert is not a prerequisite to mentorship, which was one of his initial insecurities.
“This is not about you, it’s about them”
There was more focus on creating something that was beneficial, rather than something perfect.
“It takes a lot of hard work, determination and a lot of heart, it takes the right skills, a good mindset and being people-oriented”
We all know it takes a lot to be active in the arts scene, and sometimes, there are people that do not support what these young performers are doing. Sometimes, their judgement may hurt, but it is crucial to remember that he is doing this from himself and the arts community. Through this mentorship journey, he hopes that the participants get inspired to promote change through their own ways.
As such, despite the hurtful comments that some people have thrown his way, Iyad remains dedicated to his craft. He expounds on the “Keep Hustling!” mentality in order to juggle his interest and adult responsibilities.
Teaching others helped him understand people and eventually come to terms with differing views. After all, theatre is a medium to shed light on social issues, educate people through entertainment and most importantly, give people a space to express themselves freely.
Passion projects may not be lucrative, but Iyad believes that there is so much more to what he is doing than money. Invest in your passions and who knows, maybe one day an opportunity could be right in front of you. For now, all you need to do is take the first step.
Written by: Natalie Khoo
This project is powered by National Youth Council (NYC)
*Quotes have been modified for clarity