People gathered at Subiaco Library on Monday 11 August for a special screening and Q&A with stars and families of new ABC television series, The Dreamhouse.
Set in Subiaco, and narrated by well known Australian comedian and TV presenter Adam Hills, the groundbreaking television series follows the experiences of three young adults with intellectual disabilities who fly the nest and share a ‘dream house’ together for ten weeks.
Stars of the show, Kirk, Justin and Sarah, along with their mothers, and Celia Tait from production company Artemis International, answered questions about the show and shared their experiences.
Over 600 000 Australian viewers tuned in for the first episode of the series on Thursday 7 August. Celia Tate said there had been an overwhelming positive response, with many comments flowing in to the ABC and Artemis via email and social media.
“The show has captured the imagination, hearts and souls of many Australians and through that, broken down some of the barriers.”
“This project was the riskiest project (we have done) and I would hate to think that people are criticising it – but actually they’re not. I think perhaps it has even surprised the ABC how much it has reached into people’s minds and hearts.”
The mothers spoke candidly about their journeys, what it’s like having a child with a disability, and the emotional rollercoaster they experienced throughout the filming of the show.
Justin’s mum, Margaret said: “I remember holding this Down syndrome baby in the hospital thinking how am I going to cope with him? And then thirty two years later, how am I going to cope without him?”
A year after filming, some of the housemates continue to live at the property, which is owned by the city and leased to Foundation Housing. The city provided support to the young people, their families and the production crew throughout the filming of the series, and continues to provide support to the residents of the house through its Home and Community Care (HACC) program.
City of Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said she hoped the success of the project would inspire similar arrangements to be made for other people with disabilities.
“Listening to the mothers talk on Monday night about how it was ‘near impossible’ to find suitable living arrangements before this show, was a reminder of the struggles families of people with disabilities go through. If nothing else, there’s no doubt the series has sparked a lot of conversation about alternative accommodation for young adults with disabilities.”
The Dreamhouse airs Thursdays on ABC television at 9.30pm.