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He’s been hailed as Britain’s foremost stage actor, the greatest classical performer of his generation. Simon Russell Beale, white bearded, short and stocky, sits before me now in a booth at Susie’s Café at The Other Place theatre along the river at Stratford-upon-Avon, the morning after a bravura performance up the road at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre as an emotionally affecting Prospero in The Tempest.

Abetted by ground breaking technological wizardry, Beale was required to engage not only with the sprite Ariel dancing in a motion-capture suit but also alternately with Ariel’s ghostly digital avatars appearing simultaneously on stage.

Dan Daw appears nude, brightly lit, slowly winding his pale, taut body across the floor to a ceramic teapot and cups. He performed a solo dance show at Carriageworks in January for Sydney Festival. “Some things he shares with the audience are very raw, very deep, and very engaging,” says Philip Channells, an early mentor of Daw: “Without a doubt, he had perseverance and tenacity. He was inquisitive and was just destined to be doing what he is doing.”

Daw, 34, had to be tenacious. Born with cerebral palsy in Whyalla, South Australia, he would find as an artist who happened to have a disability that he eventually had to move to the UK to build a career. He’s not alone.

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