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Elevates, Enables, Empowers: Theatres celebrating actors with Disabilities

Celebrating Actors With Disabilities

The casting couch is known for its diversity that goes beyond age, gender, religion, and language. According to the study of Ruderman White Paper, non-disabled actors play almost 95 per cent of the roles of television. However, in recent years, some theatres around the world provide chances to differently-abled people, so that they can shine and show their acting skills as well. These theatres provide opportunities to artists with physical, emotional or intellectual disabilities. Let’s take a look at some of these theatres that deserves a standing ovation for their good work: 

National Theatre of  the Deaf
NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE DEAF

NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE DEAF:

Established in 1965, NTD is an American theatre based in Waterford, Connecticut, that was the world’s first professional deaf theatre company as well. This theatre is a Tony Award-winning company. It has been touring for over 50 years giving opportunities to both deaf and hearing artists. It makes them work side by side with accessible productions. The arts organization has brought thousands of audiences throughout the years and is still working on it. The company was founded by the Department of Education and performs in full American Sign Language and speaking the language.  

Bharatanatyam
ABILITY UNLIMITED

ABILITY UNLIMITED

Established in India, Ability Unlimited is the world’s first professional dance theatre that educates people with disabilities. The performances included innovative choreographic techniques and therapeutic methods. Originally founded in 1999 by disabled rights activist, choreographer, and trained Bharatanatyam dancer Syed Sallauddin Pasha, Ability Unlimited is still contributing to making the world a better place. Pasha has directed Europe’s biggest therapeutic theatre project known as “Ramayana On Wheels” as well. “Our novel learning and performing experience elevates, enables, and empowers these especially disadvantaged young people with the ability to go through life with dignity”, said Pasha. The organization has explored both traditional and contemporary dance forms including dancers with all kinds of disabilities.

Disabilities Theater
IDENTITY THEATER

IDENTITY THEATER

As an NYC-based group of “differently-abled” people creates works that spark discussion and explore humanity. The mission of the respective company is to create more performance opportunities for artists with disabilities. It puts a variety of actors on the stage and opens the minds of the theatregoers as well. After being established as a 7-year-old theatre company, they are still trying to innovate programs for artists and audiences of all ages and abilities.  

Detour Company Theatre
DETOUR COMPANY THEATRE

DETOUR COMPANY THEATRE: 

Based in Phoenix Arizona, this company brings artists with developmental and certain physical disabilities together. They make theatre under the guidance and direction of professional coaches. The company is known for its impact on the local community as it has performed shows like “Mary Poppins” with a houseful of fans. Founded in 2000, they are a non-profit organization with a mission to create authentic, accessible theatre. It provides work to both artists who are willing to work in the arts, with a disability, and those who are there to support the talent and artistic potential of all people. 

Actors with a wider range of disabilities
THEATER BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS

THEATER BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS

The organization was originally known as “Theater by the Blind” but it altered its mission in 2008 and included actors with a wider range of disabilities. TBTB earns praise for its contribution to the New York theatre scene. The theatre aims to show “the exuberance and independence as well as the challenges of lives lived with disability”. The company was established in 1979 and is currently celebrating its 45th season. 

That Uppity Theatre Company
THAT UPPITY THEATRE COMPANY

THAT UPPITY THEATRE COMPANY: 

The theatre company which has been producing “performance and working for social justice since 1989” is simply known for including show themes like gay rights, gender issues, and racial justice as well. This award-winning organization usually travels to different schools, organizations, and communities to perform their shows and hire people as well. “We create our work from scratch as an ensemble based on story circles, dialogue, and improvisation. Although, we also commissioned a disabled-version of the Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, said producing artistic director Joan Appell Lipkin to AmeriDisability.  

The Apothecary
THE APOTHECARY

THE APOTHECARY: 

The founder of the organization Gregg Mozgala has described it as “the place of exposure”. Founded in 2012, Apothetae engages both actors and play writers who are disabled and non-disabled. Its themes include disability-related themes such as Oedipus and The Elephant Man. “One of my company’s primary goals is the creation of new full-length plays that will make visible the  ‘disabled experience’. Both personal and collective throughout the history”, said Mozgala in his interview with Ameridisability.  

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