Supporting inclusive theatre

I’m not really a movie theater fan.  I don’t know if it is sensory or what, but there are just a bunch of other things I’d rather be doing than movies.  I’m definitely a fan of Netflix, though! 

I was lucky enough, however, to be exposed to the performing arts as a child and love almost nothing more than a live performance – concert, theater show, dance performance… just about anything live makes me happy.

The organization who runs the discount TKTS booth in Times Square, the Theatre Development Fund, also runs all kinds of amazing programs aimed at making theatre (both in NYC and across the country) accessible to all – including people with disabilities.  I’m lucky in that I do not need any accommodations to go to the theatre, but many people are not able to do so.  They offer discounted performances targeted to people with disabilities affecting vision or hearing, such as audio-described and signed performances.

TDF recently started something called the Autism Theatre Initiative, which offers modified performances targeted for families affected by autism.  I think this is an amazing idea that I hope will have more success, as theatre is a powerful art form that everyone should have access to – and that many people with autism cannot. As a part of the newly-launched GOOD site, they are in the running to receive funding to continue this program.  Currently the Lion King offers performances, personally I think it would be amazing if this expanded beyond Disney shows (many people with differences of all kinds have responded to the message of Wicked, for example, that would be great if they could adapt that show).  Please consider checking this out and voting!

Thanks for reading this.  I don’t really want to use my blog just to promote other things, but this is important to me on behalf of theatre fans with and without disabilities.

Suggested Moebius-related viewing (to keep up the title trend, apparently)

It’s hard to find good, disability-related films.  It’s much easier to fall into melodrama and cliche than to really tackle the issues of disability, I think.  Not to mention the fact that there hasn’t actually been a full-length documentary made about Moebius syndrome (which is actually interesting, with all the other condition-specific documentaries that pop up on TLC!)

But… here are a few about disabilities in general that are worth seeing:

Autism: The Musical
This is just an amazing documentary, and a great program they have developed. So much of it is about differences in general, and the importance of the arts – both things that are very important to me.

Sound and Fury
Very interesting perspective about elective procedures, the thought process that goes into them, and the effect they have on a specific disability community.

Children of a Lesser God
Just putting this here because I think it’s important to recognize actors and actresses with differences who are out there and making a difference.

And for current movies, definitely see The King’s Speech.  Loved actually seeing speech therapy sessions on screen.  It has a really interesting back story – the screenwriter who wrote it stuttered as a child and went through some of the same speech therapy techniques in England that are depicted in the movie.  Some of their premieres have been benefits for speech therapy organizations, which I thought was great.

And for television, I can’t help but pointing out Glee’s depiction of characters with Down syndrome.  The scenes with Sue and her sister and Becky the cheerleader are some of my favorites.  However problematic the whole able-bodied actor in a chair issue is, I personally love the fact that they do embrace actresses with disabilities in these roles.