A lovely good news story for the start of the year comes from Liverpool actor Lewis Bray, who set up a modest crowdfunding campaign to raise the last bit of cash to take his one-man show on the road and hit his target in less than 24 hours.
Cartoonopolis was devised by Lewis with help from the the artistic directors of YEP, and was performed at the Playhouse Studio back in 2015. It is the story, inspired by real life events, of his younger brother Jack; a young man growing up with autism and learning disabilities, trying to cope with the transition to adulthood and looking to find his own voice so he can feel comfortable in his own skin.
“We made Cartoonopolis because we really wanted to address the issues around transitioning into adulthood with autism,” Lewis said. “We also wanted to show what it’s like for families who go through this process and help them to feel comfortable about it. We want to educate communities about autism in a positive, hilariously honest way.”
The play has received financial backing from the Arts Council and Awesome Liverpool, but needed a further £1500 to fully fund the tour that is scheduled for March this year. Although the crowdfunding campaign has hit its target well ahead of its January 22 deadline, they have decided to keep going until then to see if this might enable them to book additional dates.
Crowdfunding stories are ten-a-penny these days and it is really easy to get cynical about them; but something about the message of Cartoonopolis has really resonated with the arts community, and it truly warms the heart to see it succeed. The talent, dedication, positivity and pure love behind this project is a real inspiration. It is fantastic more people will have the opportunity to see the show, across the North West and beyond (dates and venues will be announced in due course).
Check out the Cartoonopolis GoFundMe page here, for more about the show and the chance to donate if you wish; and take a look at the promo video below. Well done, Lewis and Jack and best of luck for the tour!