Kourosh

Kourosh is a boy I have seen tremendously grow in each games he played, to a point at which he could just do the entire show without us just having to demonstrate even once, and even sometimes demonstrate the games to us… haha. By the end of the Pericles run, he was confident with all the games and could even do the show without his parents being in the room. I remember him at Queensmil, being a quiet kid, who didn’t speak much, and during the lockdown, I have seen another side of him, which is much more open and self assured.

-Mohit Mathur, Actor-

“Los avances que vemos en las aptitudes de Kourosh es el claro ejemplo de que el trabajo que hacemos no tiene límites. Nuestro trabajo con él se intensificó con la Pandemia, ya que el trabajar online nos permitía hacer sesiones de con él más a menudo. Solemos trabajar con él una o dos veces por semana, y la verdad es que cada semana que pasa se pueden ver pequeños avances. Recuerdo que hace ya unas semanas atrás, después de acabar una de las sesiones de trabajo, lo primero que le dije a Kelly fue: madre mía, hoy Kourosh ha sido muy autónomo. Y la verdad es que cada semana supera nuevas expectativas. Tenemos que recordar que al principio él no hablaba. Ahora sí. Ya sólo este hecho es increíble. Al igual que lo que sucedió esta semana, cuando jugando a uno de los juegos en el que uno de los personajes se esconde del otro, él decidió esconderse detrás de la silla. Eso choca contra todos los científicos que dicen que los autistas no tienen capacidades para jugar y que sólo pueden copiar. El otro día Koruosh, tomó sus propias decisiones y JUGÓ. Sí, con mayúsculas. JUGÓ. Para toda la compañía es un gran momento cada vez que vemos un nuevo paso adelante, y es muy gratificante cuando Bobby, su padre, nos felicita y se emociona por todo lo que estamos consiguiendo juntos. Que siga la magia.”

“The improvement we see in Kourosh’s skills is a clear example that the work we do has no limits. Our work with him intensified with the Pandemic, as working online allowed us to do sessions with him more often. We usually work with him once or twice a week and the truth is that every week that passes you can see little progress. I remember that a few weeks ago, after finishing one of the work sessions, the first thing I said to Kelly was: my goodness, today Kourosh has been very autonomous. And the truth is that every week exceeds new expectations. We have to remember that at first he did not speak. Now he do. Just this fact is incredible. As what happened this week, when playing one of the games where one of the characters hides from the other, he decided to hide behind the chair. That goes against all the scientists who say that autistics do not have the ability to play and that they can only copy. The other day Koruosh, made his own decisions and PLAYED. Yes, with capital letters. PLAYED. For the entire company it is a great moment every time we see a new step forward, and it is very gratifying when Bobby, his father, congratulates us and gets excited about all that we are achieving together. Let the magic continue. ”

-Alfons Nieto, Actor-

Seeing Kourosh grow and develop into the cheeky and playful person he is has been an absolute pleasure. I first remember working with Flute in the real space and watching Kelly delicately play with Kourosh and helping him to find his voice, whatever that might be. He rarely spoke above a whisper, but there were absolutely the key parts of play already revealing themselves. Now Kourosh plays with each and every one of us, delighting in his own voice and even adapting our games as we go to find even more cheeky and joyous potential in what we do. How he has grown in this time is an amazing example of how fantastic the effects of the work are when repeated over and over again over a number of years.

-Holly Musgrave, Actor-

Knowing Kourosh for close to three years has been one of the most fascinating, educational and rewarding experiences of my life. I first met Kourosh in August 2018 in the first year of the Summer Dreams partnership with Queensmill School, at the Bush Theatre. I can vividly remember meeting Kourosh as a very quiet young man, but nonetheless extremely curious about the games and willing to play. I remember Kelly’s incredibly sensitive way of working with him, and noticing just how attuned and adaptable she was in that moment. Every time we met Kourosh again in person, at his school or at the Bush Theatre, we would notice remarkable strides forward, and a familiarity and ease with the games and the work that enabled him to tentatively test his boundaries and explore the work more fully. 

Staying in regular contact with Kourosh through the pandemic has been vital, and of all the people we have worked with, Kourosh’s transformation has been one of the most profound. From that quiet person I first met years ago has emerged a young man who has quite literally found his voice. A person with a very playful side, and an utter joy in each game. We’ve seen incremental, consistent progress in facial expressions as well as speech.

As each barrier to his participation gradually subsided, his engagement with the work continually increased.

Not only does he fully commit to each game; he shows a completely authentic joy and enthusiasm as he does so. In addition, his communication and interaction with us as a company has been remarkable – he now finishes each performance by individually naming and saying goodbye to each actor. It’s fascinating that Zoom has given us the opportunity to tightly focus our work, and to provide a greater level of repetition for Kourosh than we might have been able to in a classroom setting. Throughout the pandemic we’ve had moments of frustration at not being able to be in a room with the people we work with, but seeing the way Kourosh flourished through this new platform has always been a tonic to any frustration we felt.

Kourosh is an example of what can happen if you invest time, energy and care in a person. If circumstances allow you to sit with someone for an extended period of time and to witness their growth through continual work, it is no exaggeration to say it can be life-changing. 

-Oliver McLellan, Actor-