THE theatre can provide a platform for real life topics - tales that need to be told.

Mia, by Bradford-based Mind the Gap, is a perfect example. Created and directed by Joyce Nga Yu Lee, Mia explores the issues faced by learning disabled parents.

Charli Ward, rehearsal director for Mind the Gap, understood to be England's largest learning disabled theatre company, explains that Joyce had the idea for the play while contemplating motherhood herself and also learning of an experience of a learning disabled parent who was pregnant at that time.

Joyce who, incidentally, is on maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter four months ago, was eager to raise awareness about the issues learning disabled parents face and began researching the idea.

"It is a hidden topic," explains Charli.

The 60 minute piece of live theatre sees actors bringing scenarios to life on the stage. "You see lots of different verbatim stories. One minute you are laughing the next minute you are crying," says Charli.

She says the aim is to make the piece enjoyable and not too upsetting but to be able to get the message across to the audience that these are issues which learning disabled parents face.

"There are lots of fun bits; dancing, music, lots of things happening," says Charli, who directed Anna, an interactive Forum Theatre piece and part of the Daughters of Fortune project which explores scenarios potentially experienced by learning-disabled people when they consider or are entering parenthood.

Mia, which is already on its second tour of the country, has captured audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and at venues including the Vault Festival in London.

Charli who has been with the MTG for 11 years, says it was seven years since they previously performed at the Fringe. "It was a big leap for us and it has been nothing but great being able to reach people, potentially, we couldn't have reached."

Mia: Daughters of Fortune arrives at the artist-led LAB (Live Art Bistro) in Leeds today and tomorrow (April 27 and 28).

Over the last six years LAB have developed an international reputation as an independent creative hub offering opportunities for a broad spectrum of different artists.

West Yorkshire Playhouse has a long-standing relationship with LAB and is committed to continuing supporting their important work.

Charli says they previously performed 'Contained' at West Yorkshire Playhouse. "We performed there last year and it is great we can carry on that relationship."

She says while she enjoys touring she also loves performing on home turf.

Also featuring at the venue on Friday May 11 and Saturday May 12 is the award-winning Sh!t Theatre's DollyWould, a bold new show about country legend Dolly Parton.

West Yorkshire Playhouse New Work Producer Gilly Roche said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Live Art Bistro to present two of this year’s most exciting and entertaining pieces of new work. Internationally renowned for its adventurous programming and generous support of artists, LAB is a perfect host for these two boundary-pushing productions. The Playhouse is proud to champion Live Art Bistro and can’t wait for new audiences to experience this unique space.”

Live Art Bistro Co-Creative Director Matthew Allen said: "We're incredibly happy to work in partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse and we can't wait for audiences to see the brilliant work of Mind the Gap and Sh!t Theatre. We're excited to continue to strengthen our relationship with the Playhouse and build a more united, collaborative cultural ecology in Leeds."

For more information call the box office on 0113 213 7700 or visit To find out more about Mind the Gap visit