Helen Flinter-Leach - No Strings Attached Founder
At the age of forty, I gained entry to the Drama Course and the Theology Course at Flinders University, while working 20 hours a week for two Pro Vice Chancellors and for some months in the Biotechnology Unit of the Flinders Medical Centre. During this time, I also worked with Sarah Maddocks (Flinders Drama Centre) and Gestures Theatre of the Deaf creating a film for SBS TV; it was aired several times in Australia, on Channel 4 in England, and won awards in American and Italy.
Having gained distinctions in Drama, I fell ill with the workload to support my children. I was in Glenside Mental Hospital for four years.
In 1993, I founded No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability, assisted by the Kensington and Norwood City Council and a hand picked Board of Management. Through the local TAFE, I met some wonderful young people with disabilities as well as Pat Rix who would soon found Tutti Arts. Our first production was Norwood at Work, the history of old and new Norwood (an Adelaide suburb). Other artists essential to our early success included Pat and Paul Mitchell, Bryan Tingey, Shadia Design, Bec Phipps, Stephen Sheehan and PJ Rose.
I have founded other theatre companies as well. In 1992 'Old Friends' made a series of radio plays with Pat Rix. By Arrangement Productions (1998-2002) staged my play Floral Tribute for the Our Lives Our Choices Mental Health Conference II (1998) was responsible for the paper I gave to the Asia and Oceania Mental Health Conference in Hobart and at the 2000 High Beam Festival in Adelaide.
Thanks to all those who helped make the years from 1971 to 2010 the richest and most creative years of my life (so far). After all, I am a Mad Woman at heart.