Freddie Stabb and Natalie Amber are two best friends who both have a disability and filmed a short show in Gibraltar. The show that the duo are pitching to production companies aims to change perceptions of disability. The pair told the Chronicle about their aspirations for the show as well as what they found out about disability access on the Rock.
By Gabriella Peralta
Travels with Fred and Nat follows the women while they look for an adventure travelling around the UK and even Gibraltar.
The final idea for the show would be that the pair would travel around in a VW camper van picking up celebrities along the way.
The plan is to interview the celebrities about their fears and fantasies and then taking them on an adventure based on their answers.
“We want to show with the right attitude anything is possible, that we may not all look the same, but we are all more alike than we think,” said Ms Stabb.
“We all have fears and we all have dreams.”
Their first stop for their short documentary to pitch to producers was filmed in Gibraltar.
“The idea germinated whilst Nat lay in a hospital bed for three years,” said Ms Stabb.
Ms Amber described how she thought of the show when watching lots of television from her hospital bed.
“In all the hours of TV I consumed, the 100’s of travel shows, music shows, seldom did I see anything to show a positive side of disability, or what is out there for the average disabled person to go and do,” Ms Amber said.
“I was about to turn 40, ashamedly never been to a music festival, and had a thrust for an adventure. If I was going to do it though, I wanted to share it with others, in the hope to give even just one person the confidence to not fear trying things. As someone with a disability, people are often too quick to tell you what you can’t do, as opposed to what you can, and you spend your life fighting the system that it is easy to lose track of the positives in life. However, I am a bit of an adrenaline junky, and have no filter, so there was only one person I knew, who is as crazy as I am, and I wanted to share this journey with. And that was my best friend and fellow actress Freddie Stabb.”
The pair shared a dressing room in 2017 at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, UK and joked about following through with this plan for the show.
A year later and they decided to go through with it and follow their dreams.
“We are currently at the stage with the project of editing our footage ready to pitch the idea to different production companies, with the aim to get it commissioned by one of the main broadcasters,” Ms Stabb said.
“In the meantime, we are on the hunt for an accessible VW camper van, looking into funding possibilities, as well as developing a series of comedy sketches for our YouTube channel, looking at the themes of the documentary around different voices and perspectives and bringing it into the mainstream. We are considering our logo, marketing tools and so on too.”
The idea to film is Gibraltar was that of Ms Stabb who’s been visiting the Rock for 20 years. For both of them Gibraltar doesn’t just have great weather, it “welcomes difference and the harmony of different races and religions living together is an example for the rest of the world of what is possible with cooperation. It is clean, friendly and open to change for the better. We hope to come back and visit soon.”
“Her enthusiasm for [Gibraltar] is infectious,” said Ms Amber.
“She has always spoken about the general access being good here and so it made sense to interview the CEO of Gibraltar International Airport and the Equalities Minister Sacramento, who both gave us interesting facts on the improvements to and their ongoing commitment to inclusivity.”
“Fred has been wanting to come to the music festival for years and it was high on my bucket list, so it seemed the perfect fit to start our journey. We wanted to capture the festival, the diversity of the people it attracts, as well as access.”
While in Gibraltar the pair interviewed Sister Sledge which gave them the opportunity to try out some of their questions.
“This was a very special moment for our project, as it marked the beginning our quest,” Ms Amber said.
“We may not have been equipped with our camper van, but the sisters’ energy, generosity and ethos of life fit with ours perfectly.”
One of their main reasons they arrived in Gibraltar was to find out more about the disability access on the Rock.
Also the pair will look into discrimination, people’s attitudes and the problems facing the disabled community during their documentary.
“Gibraltar has something very unique to offer because of its size, from the moment you land in the airport you feel welcomed into the family,” Ms Stabb said.
“Access wise what seems to stand out the most over here, is people’s attitude towards difference. Often attitudinal barriers are the biggest problem the disabled community face. We are either made to feel like we are a problem, or just ignored. However, there seems to be a great will over here to help, in general.”
“Freddie has only experienced discrimination once in twenty years of visiting, funnily enough on this visit, at a clothes shop on Main Street where the correct help was not offered and she was ignored after explaining what help she needed. However, Equalities Minister Sacramento seems be having a huge impact in her vision to shape Gibraltar into being a fully integrated society, although there are still improvements to be made, and a way to go.”
The interviews gave the pair interesting information on the governments Support Employment Scheme, and Sister Sledge enthused about the documentary and asked to be updated on its progress.