You’ve got to be Ballsy

Stories from the Front Line of Cerebral Palsy

You’ve got to be Ballsy: Stories from the Front Line of Cerebral Palsy is a film that investigates the experiences of young people with CP living in 2018.

The film is presented by a young comedian with CP, Jack Hunter, and follows Jack as he speaks with a number of young people about the positive and negative ways that CP has impacted on their lives. In parallel, Jack was also given mentoring by professional comedian with CP, Laurence Clark, who helped Jack develop material for a comedy routine.

BOP knows from its own research (Barriers) and from conversations with Bobath Scotland that young disabled people and young people with CP do not experience equality of access to the arts as audiences, participants or developing artists.  Neither do they have the opportunity to have time and space to explore issues of identity and perceptions around cerebral palsy outside service specific environments. This film helps detail some of the ways this actually manifests for people.


You’ve got to be Ballsy was funded by RS Macdonald Charitable Trust and supported by National Theatre of Scotland and Cerebral Palsy Scotland (previously Bobath Scotland). It was made by Francisco M. Mallo.

Why did we make it?

In 2018, BOP made a production with National Theatre of Scotland called My Left/Right Foot – The Musical. This show is about an amateur dramatic society who are tired of never winning the revered One Act Play Competition. When they discover you can get bonus points for embracing themes of inclusiveness, they decide to put on a stage version of the 1989 film My Left Foot, a film about the Irish writer Christy Brown – who had cerebral palsy – played by the actor Daniel Day-Lewis (who does not have CP).

Robert Softley Gale was inspired to write My Left/Right Foot – The Musical because of his personal experience of growing up as a young person with CP at the same time the film My Left Foot was released.

As a young boy with cerebral palsy, the film of My Left Foot in 1989 was the first time I’d seen a character with the same impairment as me in mainstream culture. My mum raved about Daniel Day-Lewis’s brilliant performance and how “he’s just so like you”. But what could I really take from this portrayal of a disabled person by a non-disabled actor?

Such depictions of disability that litter our culture reinforce ideas that disabled people are victims, trapped inside bodies and in need of pity. What does this do for disabled people in 2019?

Robert Softley Gale, Writer / Director: My Left/Right Foot – The Musical

During rehearsals we became aware that Robert’s experience of growing up with CP as a young person in the 1980s would be completely different to the experience of young people with CP growing up in 2018. This film was created as a way of capturing what their experiences actually are.


Made by Francisco M. Mallo

Presented by Jack Hunter

Featuring interviews with Sam Agnew, Laurence Clark, Matthew Duckett, Bernie Hunter, Rebecca Nicholson, Grace Skinner, Robert Softley Gale.

Featuring footage from My Left/Right Foot – The Musical written and directed by Robert Softley Gale, with music and lyrics by Richard Thomas, and Scott Gilmour & Claire McKenzie.