The 'Longside Club was founded in 1983 by Geraldine Rubia, a rehabilitation counsellor and author, with the goal of providing a social club for physically and mentally disabled persons. The name derived from the belief that disabled persons could socialize as equals "alongside" those who are not so disadvantaged.
The 'Longside Players, an associated theatre group, was formed in 1984 by writer and musician Ed Kavanagh. Like its parent institution, the 'Longside Players focused on the promotion of independence of disabled persons. The Players supplied an outlet for disabled persons to experience theatre. The theatre group provided employment opportunities to those on welfare or unemployment insurance with funding for the group's activities coming from various sources including federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. Participation in the theatre group acted as a therapy for many of the members, providing a source of self-confidence. The group also worked to alter negative stereotypes of disabled persons by demonstrating their capabilities on stage.
Interested in learning more about 'Longside Players?
Check out the book The Cat's Meow: The 'Longside Players Selected Plays, 1984-1989 (available at several MUN Library branches)
Visit the Archives and Special Collections