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'A wonderful moment for us all': Edmonton actor with disability shines on Citadel stage

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The Citadel Theatre is bringing something new to its yearly performance of A Christmas Carol.

The iconic character "Tiny Tim" is losing the title and a 10-year-old with a disability is playing the part.

"This year is the first year we are working with a Tim with lived experience, with disability," artistic director Daryl Cloran told CTV News Edmonton. "Our decision to call him 'Tim' not 'tiny Tim' is to give him agency on his own."

The role is Elias Martin's first acting gig but he tells CTV News Edmonton that memorizing lines has been no big deal.

"It's super easy because I practiced at home," he said.

Elias was born with a heart defect that required him to have three open-heart surgeries by the age of four.

During his third surgery, he suffered a massive stroke.

"They ended up having to do major brain surgery and as a result, he got technically cerebral palsy and so he has some difficulty walking and some vision issues," said his father Blair Martin.

After the stroke, Blair says they didn't know whether Elias would walk, talk, speak or eat on his own again. So, seeing him perform on stage has been remarkable.  

"I don't know if we've made it through even the rehearsals without almost crying every time," he said.

Cloran calls Elias "a natural" and says he's been a thrill to watch.

"The other day he performed for 700 students and to see him there in front of his peers performing and having this kind of success is such a wonderful moment for all of us," he said.

Elias has also been enjoying the spotlight and says he gets "joy" from the crowds.  

"Come see the show, it's amazing," he added.

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