Elizabeth Ledo and Mickey Row in Syracuse Stage’s production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in 2017. (Photo by Michael Davis)

Disabled Artists Launch National Disability Theatre

A group of theatre artists with disabilities are creating a producing company.

NATIONWIDE: A group of disabled theatre artists have announced the creation of National Disability Theatre, a company that will produce fully accessible live performances. The company will exclusively contract actors, designers, directors, and staff who have disabilities.

“Why National Disability Theatre now? Because we need hope,” said co-executive director Mickey Rowe, who is on the autism spectrum, in a statement. “A company producing large-scale professional work run entirely by people with disabilities will show the world that our differences really are our strengths. We will impact industries beyond our own, demonstrating that people with disabilities can efficiently and productively undertake professional work at the highest level and that accessibility is not only right—but also profitable. We want to flip the script and eliminate the single story of people with disabilities, showing that we are neither inspirational nor charity cases, just powerful and ferocious professionals.”

The company’s advisory company members, made up of theatre artists and professionals who are disabled, include Micah Fowler, Ali Stroker, Zack Anner, Jamie Brewer, Josh Castille, Gregg Mozgala, Haben Girma, Nicole Kelly, Nic Novicki, Katy Sullivan, Maysoon Zayid, and Danny Woodburn.

Each of the company’s performances will include open captioning, active listening systems, interpreters, audio description, and more. The group will also focus on advocacy initiatives to change the narrative and social policy on disability inclusion. National Disability Theatre is currently seeking partnerships with large existing regional theatres and performing arts institutions.