Amy Golden, who has cerebral palsy, tells us how she’s been sharing her story with the world, and hopes to take a musical written about her to the Edinburgh festival.
When I was 3 weeks old I had meningitis, I nearly died. The doctors thought I would have a learning disability. But mum knew I didn’t. She said she saw it in my eyes.
I have cerebral palsy now which means I can’t walk or talk. I can move my right arm but nothing else. I have a chart in front of me with the alphabet and words on it I use a lot. I talk to people by pointing to that, often spelling things out letter by letter. Some people wonder why I don’t use a voice machine but I would feel like it wasn’t my voice. This way does feel like it is my voice coming out.
I use an electric wheel chair and have to be hoisted in and out of it.
Going to School
I went to a special school from the age of three until I was nine. The school recognised I was bright so when I was nine I went to the village primary school opposite my house in Chipperfield which my brother went to.
The school made a classroom just for me, which was amazing. I made lots of friends and was very happy. I stayed on an extra year and after that I went to Bushey Meads secondary school where I add a gang of friends. We went to the shops together and had a great time! But when I was 14 the penny dropped that this was for life. I was so sad. My friends were getting boyfriends and doing the usual teenage stuff. I became depressed.
Sometimes I cry, it helps. Depression is like a fog in my mind and after crying it lifts. Most of the time I am happy.
Following my passion
At 16 I joined Chickenshed theatre company because I love acting and being on stage. It’s in my blood. My mum is a dancer and dad’s a musician so I have spent all my life at stage doors.
I must have been in hundreds of shows there; they are like a second family to me! Sarah Daniels, a famous writer, wrote one show with me in mind! In that show I did use a voice machine, I was acting and got paid. Ha ha!
Making a break
A few years later Sarah Daniels got back in touch and asked if I would write a play for Radio 4, so I said yes please. It was called ‘Through My Eyes’.
After about 2 years of being off and on last year she phoned and said the BBC had offered me a slot on a show called 4thought. About a week later I went to Somerset house to record it in front of a studio audience. A lovely actress became my voice while we sat together on the stage. It was an amazing experience and response from the audience was fantastic. It was broadcast 2 weeks later. In fact it was chosen as feature of the month and re-broadcast!!
Not long later a friend of a friend of mums in Australia who is a famous writer and director of musical theatre listened to my piece and immediately got in touch.
His name is Craig Christie. Basically, he came over to England and wanted to co- write a musical about my life starring me! We met up and instantly we clicked. So much so that the musical was written within 10 weeks!
With an amazing cast we did a read through in October of last year which was amazing! It’s part very funny and part very emotional. We hope to take it to Edinburgh festival this August. I am determined to get there and realise my dream. I hope the show will be inspirational for other people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
The musical is called ‘Get On With It’ – which I do! Here’s a video of the cast rehearsing:
We still have a way to go raising the money. Please visit my Kickstarter page. We need investors to help me realise my dream and get the show to Edinburgh Festival.