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Disability and Accessibility

How can we make every aspect of theatre practice and participation accessible to people of all abilities? Disability aesthetics, accessibility measures for artists and audience members, and work created by artists with disabilities are all covered here. A great place to start is the 2019 series The Future of Theatre is Accessible, curated by Talleri McRae and Mickey Rowe, or you can dive into Unsettling Dramaturgy’s panel Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Cripping Practice or videos from the Neurodiversity Matters Conference. To learn more about HowlRound’s goals and standards for accessibility, you can go here.

The Latest

Dance for Change
Podcast
Dance for Change
A Conversation with Robert Magasa
by Fumbani Innot Phiri, Robert Magasa
26 October 2022
Moving from Disability Visibility to Disability Artistry
Essay
Moving from Disability Visibility to Disability Artistry
by Morgan Skolnik
20 October 2022
Disability
Podcast
Disability
by Zsófi Kozma, Bíborka Béres, Kata Kopeczny, Ádám Fekete, Ferenc Kálmán, Dorka Farkas
5 October 2022
Critical Stages in Malawian Contemporary Theatre teaser image with the title at the top and a picture of the guest in the middle.
Dance for Change
Podcast

Dance for Change

A Conversation with Robert Magasa

26 October 2022

Robert Magasa is an experienced dancer, choreographer, and actor who trained in Zimbabwe and now runs UjeNi Dance Ensemble Theatre in Malawi. In this interview, Magasa discusses his career, the economics of producing theatre in Malawi, and his current work to bring a combination of traditional and Afro contemporary dance to schoolchildren in Malawi.

A performer in a wheelchair suspended in midair by a wire.
Moving from Disability Visibility to Disability Artistry
Essay

Moving from Disability Visibility to Disability Artistry

20 October 2022

Morgan Skolnik argues for theatre that goes beyond physical accessibility and disability representation to actively center disabled artists and the creative potential the disability community holds.

PUHA Podcast Teaser.
Disability
Podcast

Disability

5 October 2022

In this week’s episode, hosts Bíborka and Zsófi focus on different abilities and handicapped people in the performing arts. Translating their guests’ responses into English, the co-hosts sit down with independent theatremaker, poet, and dramaturg Ádám Fekete; and the core members of the ArtMan Association, Dorka Farkas, Kata Kopeczny, and Ferenc Kálmán, who work with integrated dance and movement practices to produce amazing contemporary dance shows.

Eight actors dressed in costume singing together on stage.
A Music Man for Deaf Audiences
Essay

A Music Man for Deaf Audiences

6 September 2022

Melissa Lin Sturges shares her experience attending Olney Theatre Center’s bilingual production of The Music Man, which was presented in both English and American Sign Language.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Staging Reproductive Freedom in Black Feminist Theatre
Podcast

Staging Reproductive Freedom in Black Feminist Theatre

3 August 2022

This episode is inspired by recent and current events regarding Roe v. Wade and their potential impact on birthing people. We think about the representation of reproductive justice (things such as abortion, contraception, and anything regarding decisions to birth or plan a family) especially from Black women playwrights. We discuss plays such as They That Sit in Darkness by Mary Burrill, Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimke, Come Down Burning by Kia Corthron, In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, and Abortion Road Trip by Rachel Lynett.

Two actors on the set of The Elephant Man.
Naming the Trope: A Deep Dive into the Harmful Uses of Disability Stereotypes in the American Theatre
Essay

Naming the Trope: A Deep Dive into the Harmful Uses of Disability Stereotypes in the American Theatre

3 January 2022

From the “Gentleman Freak” to the “Rage-Filled Recluse,” simplistic tropes limit popular representation of disabled individuals. Ben Ranaan explains these tropes and advocates for more complex portrayals of disability in theatre and other media.

poster for the deaf woke conversation with guest Aleatha Lindsay.
#DeafWoke with Aleatha Lindsay
Video

#DeafWoke with Aleatha Lindsay

#DeafWoke is a virtual consciousness-raising engaging online talk show, led by Black and Native American Deaf host Mr. Antoine Hunter PurpleFireCrow.

Thursday 26 August 2021
San Francisco, California

Join us for an enlightening evening with award-winning multi-disciplinary artist, independent curator, disability advocate, and published author, Aleatha Linsday. Livestreaming on the commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 26 August 2021 at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A grey-colored person looking off to the left with colorful flowers bursting from their head.
The Realm of the Senses: Theatrical World-Building for Social Activation
Essay

The Realm of the Senses: Theatrical World-Building for Social Activation

26 August 2021

In this entry of Devising Our Future, Aly Perry asks, “How might we position and design theatre as an essential space for healing, pleasure, and connection through an intertwining and interdependent realm of the senses?

poster for deaf woke conversation with Denise Saunders Thompson.
#DeafWoke with Denise Saunders Thompson
Video

#DeafWoke with Denise Saunders Thompson

A Virtual Consciousness-Raising Online Talk Show, Led by Black and Native American Deaf Host Mr. Antoine Hunter PurpleFireCrow.

Thursday 19 August 2021
San Francisco, California

Join us for an inspiring evening with Denise Saunders Thompson, president and chief executive officer for the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Livestreamed on the commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 19 August 2021 at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A headshot of Michelle A. Banks against a galaxy backdrop with the logo for Building Our Own Tables to the left.
Creating a Platform for BIPOC, Deaf, and Hard-of-Hearing Artists
Podcast

Creating a Platform for BIPOC, Deaf, and Hard-of-Hearing Artists

With Michelle Banks of Visionaries of the Creative Arts

21 July 2021

Yura Sapi sits down with Black, Deaf artist Michelle Banks to talk about Visionaries of the Creative Arts, an organization Michelle co-founded, dedicated to responding to the critical needs of d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing artists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, in Washington, DC.

#DeafWoke with Noah David James III
Video

#DeafWoke with Noah David James III

A virtual consciousness-raising online talk show, led by Black and Native American Deaf host Mr. Antoine Hunter PurpleFireCrow

Thursday 20 May 2021
United States

Antoine Hunter presented #DeafWoke with Noah David James III livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 20 May at 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 7 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event title text playwrights realm disability representation in storytelling.
Disability Representation in Storytelling
Video

Disability Representation in Storytelling

What does responsible representation look like in 2021?

Thursday 20 May 2021
United States

The Playwrights Realm presented Disability Representation in Storytelling livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 20 May 2021 at 3 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 5 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 6 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 6 May 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and and Joshua Castille livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 6 May 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

headshots of francis phiri, antoine hunter, and event info.
#DeafWoke with Francis Phiri
Video

#DeafWoke with Francis Phiri

A virtual consciousness-raising online talk show, led by Black and Native American Deaf host Mr. Antoine Hunter PurpleFireCrow

Thursday 6 May 2021
United States

Antoine Hunter presented #DeafWoke with Francis Phiri livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 6 May at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A production photo of three actors in front of projections
Envisioning Change
Essay

Envisioning Change

The Future Is Inclusive

29 March 2021

Andrea Kovich argues that inclusive design can be used to change organizations and the work being produced, leading to a more inclusive and equitable theatre field.

a group of people holding a banner saying "MAD Pride"
The Importance of Centering Neurodivergent and Mad Writers
Essay

The Importance of Centering Neurodivergent and Mad Writers

16 March 2021

Cortland Nesley argues that Neurodivergent and Mad writers should be leading the charge in shaping Neurodivergent and Mad narratives.

The backstage area of a theatre, with a red curtain on a raised platform. There are random props and items strewn about. A woman in a 1940s outfit is standing at stage left. Down on the lower level is a ghost light. The entire stage is covered in textured, selective lighting.
Illuminating the Careers of Disabled Lighting Designers
Essay

Illuminating the Careers of Disabled Lighting Designers

25 February 2021

Lighting designers Annie Wiegand and Michael Maag discuss how being part of the Deaf and disability community intersects with their design work.

an empty audition room
Identity-Conscious Casting
Essay

Identity-Conscious Casting

Moving Beyond Color-Blind and Color-Conscious Casting

2 February 2021

Text-based director and adaptor Lavina Jadhwani chats with casting director Victor Vazquez about her shift from using “color-conscious casting” to “identity-conscious casting,” the importance of casting being seen as part of a show’s design and dramaturgy, and more.

a group of actors onstage
The Ableist Effects of Creating “Post-Pandemic Theatre” During a Pandemic
Essay

The Ableist Effects of Creating “Post-Pandemic Theatre” During a Pandemic

8 December 2020

Allie Marotta discusses how a new realm of accessibility opened up with remote performances but argues that the rush to return to in-person events is leaving disabled and high-risk populations behind.

swirling octopus tentacles.
Catalysing Change Through Artful Agitation: Part I: Be Ill-Disciplined
Video

Catalysing Change Through Artful Agitation: Part I: Be Ill-Disciplined

A performative lecture and Q&A with Kai Syng Tan

Saturday 19 September 2020
United Kingdom

performingbordersLIVE20 and Contact presented Catalysing Change Through Artful Agitation: Part I: Be Ill-Disciplined livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 19 September 2020 at 6:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 9:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 2:30 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1).

an actor onstage
This Is How We Cripped It
Essay

This Is How We Cripped It

12 August 2020

Debbie Patterson talks about the barriers faced by artists with disabilities and how creative teams can “crip” the work—embracing the disruptions created by disability to open up previously unimagined possibilities.

image of cracked land with text unsettling dramaturgy
Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Irreconcilable Spaces
Video

Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Irreconcilable Spaces

hosted by Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip & Indigenous Dramaturgies

Friday 15 May 2020
United States

Unsettling Dramaturgy presented Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Irreconcilable Spaces livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 15 May 2020 at 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:15 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).

Daylight lighting. The puppeteer, dressed in black, is sitting on a short black cube on a grey stage in front of bookshelves. The puppet, with white body and light blue costume, is sitting on the puppeteers knee. The puppet head, bald and painted off-white, is blocking the puppeteers face. The puppet's right leg is separate from the rest of its body, connected to the right leg and toes of the puppeteer. There is a large space between the two puppet legs. The gesture of the right hand of the puppet is raised
Puppetry and Disability Aesthetics
Essay

Puppetry and Disability Aesthetics

4 May 2020

Marina Tsaplina examines the complexity of the word “disability,” how puppetry can push forward disability justice, and disability aesthetics, offering what she deems a “grammar of animacy” for artists working with disability.

Stylized event promotion.
Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces
Video

Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces

hosted by Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip & Indigenous Dramaturgies.​

Thursday 30 April 2020
United States

Unsettling Dramaturgy presented Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 30 April 2020 at 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:15 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).

Spectrum Theatre Ensemble logo.
Neurodiversity Matters Conference
Video

Neurodiversity Matters Conference

Topics include Opportunities & Challenges with Neurodiverse Inclusion, Sensory Friendly Awareness, and much much more!

Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 April 2020
United States

Spectrum Theatre Ensemble presented Neurodiversity Matters Conference livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 April 2020 at 10 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 12 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 1 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 18:00 BST (London, UTC+1) / 19:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC+2)