Talented 17-year-old Lilyan Smith has already overcome more hurdles in her young life than most would encounter in several lifetimes.
The severely debilitated autistic girl from Forrestfield was recently cast in a role of Beauty and the Beast and will appear as one of Gaston’s silly girls.
The Silly Girl No 2 role is a just reward for the hard work of the young artist and the production will be held at the Regal Theatre in Subiaco, starts on August 25 and will run until September 3.
Ms Smith has managed to achieve all this despite suffering from autism, Elhers-Danlos syndrome, severe scoliosis and a generalised anxiety disorder.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a series of generally inherited connective tissue disorders that can cause joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyper extensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal) and tissue fragility.
Despite struggling at school due to her inability to read and recurring blackouts, she has managed to study musical theatre at the Australian Performing Arts Network in Malaga.
Her mother Desiree Smith, who also has to cope with an autistic son, said her daughter was born with severe autistic issues and a couple of years ago she wouldn’t have dreamed of what she has since been able to achieve.
“Lilyan despite all her problems has a remarkable ability to hear music and songs and memorise them,” she said.
“She is able to learn her lines by having someone she knows read them to her.”
This capacity to memorise music and songs has enabled Ms Smith to quickly gain a Certificate IV in musical theatre and to pursue an advanced diploma in musical theatre.
She is also one of a select few to be chosen to participate in a performing arts tour of America next year and she will perform at various venues on Broadway and at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Ms Smith will also audition for a number of casting agents among a string of other amazing opportunities that will be available to her during the American trip.
But money is a major obstacle for the Smith family who are now fundraising for this
Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by selling chocolates, offering private singing tuition and through a go fund me page that her family has set up.
This year, Ms Smith won Ability Idol, a singing competition for disabled children from ages 10-18 and she won her section at the Joondalup Eisteddfod music competition.
A scholarship from Variety WA enables the talented performer to continue her private singing tuition but her autistic brother restricts her ability to be able to do much at home.
Ms Smith also frequently performs at charity events and has recently sung at both the City of Perth Christmas Nativity 2016 and at the National Disability Awards.
Through music and song, she has managed to discover an avenue with which to express herself and expand her horizons and understandably she is extremely excited about the prospect of jumping on a place to America.
Anyone interested in helping this amazing young girl fulfil her United States dream can go to her go fund me page and help them to reach their $7000 goal.
Go to www.gofundme.com/my-american-dance-singing-tour
By Andrew Carter