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Image description for blind and low vision users: Playwright Christopher Shinn is featured in this grey scale photograph. He has a short beard and medium length brown hair. He is looking up and to the side as if he is thinking of something. Behind him is a grid of sky scraper windows. The National Disability Theatre logo is in the top right corner, a triangle and two circles overlapping to resemble a wheelchair. The logo is the color of a plum. Photographed by Maria Baranova Photography.

National Disability Theatre Launches Commissioning Partnership

The organization will partner with La Jolla Playhouse and Goodman Theatre to develop and produce two new plays by Gregg Mozgala and Christopher Shinn.

NATIONWIDE: National Disability Theatre has announced a partnership with La Jolla Playhouse and Goodman Theatre to commission two new works written, directed, and designed by artists with disabilities for casts featuring only actors with disabilities.

The selected playwrights are Gregg Mozgala, who will partner with La Jolla Playhouse, and Christopher Shinn, who will work with both La Jolla Playhouse and Goodman Theatre. National Disability Theatre’s leadership will serve as the artists in residence at La Jolla Playhouse for the 2019-20 season as the new plays are developed.

“Right now we’re at a time in our country where we really need hope, and we really need incredible artistry that can be used as evidence that our differences are our strengths,” says co-executive director Mickey Rowe, who is autistic, in a statement.

National Disability Theatre believes that universal design practices with full accessibility benefit all audience members, not just those who identify as using accommodations. These two productions will also be made fully accessible with closed captioning, audio description, and more built into the artistic designs.

“As a playwright who underwent a below-the-knee amputation at age 38 during treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma, I have lived as both an able-bodied and disabled person and artist,” said Shinn in a statement. “I understand that casting entails more than a search for diversity. But I’ve also come to believe that leaving out actual disabled people undercuts the power of works ostensibly about disability.”

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