Here Is The Toolkit

1 Creating Accessible Work

*Throughout the toolkit we will use BLV in place of Blind and Low-Vision for the sake of brevity and consistency.


Existing Work

This section of the guide is intended to aid creators in adapting their work in ways that more easily allow people who are Blind and Low Vision (BLV) to engage with it.

 

A wonderful resource called “Demystifying Access” has already been compiled by Unlimited Impact, a UK-based nonprofit organization that enables “new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.” Their guide offers a semi-comprehensive look into how creators can broaden access to their work for audience members who are watching the show, make the venue more accessible, and market their work to communities with reduced access. 

 

Clickable Link: Demystifying Access: A guide for producers and performance makers: how to create better access for audiences to the performing arts.

New Work & Work in Development

This section is intended to aid in the creative process of developing original content with BLV accessibility in mind.

 

Blind Artists and Theatre in Toronto & Canada

Toronto and Canada are host to an array of practicing groups, actors, playwrights, and other theatre creators that are blind or otherwise living and creating with disabilities. Here are a few of them:

Theatre + Performing Arts Companies:

  • Dramaway
    • “DramaWay programs span the realm of the fine arts including theatre, dance, vocal, multi-arts as well as social and life skills training. All programs are created, geared and modified to suit individuals of all abilities.”
  • The Glenvale Players Theatre Group
    • “A not for profit, non-union theatrical group comprising blind, vision impaired, sighted members as well as persons with other disabilities, who share an interest in theater arts.”
  • Tangled Art + Disability
    • “Tangled Art + Disability is a registered charitable organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities for artists with disabilities to contribute to the cultural fabric of our society.”
  • Red Dress Productions
    • “A Toronto non-profit that creates interdisciplinary, community-engaged, public art projects.”
  • CCB Mysteries Chapter
    • Inclusive Dinner Theatre group encouraging audience participation. Proceeds from shows go toward children with disabilities.
  • Real Wheels – Vancouver
    • “Realwheels is a professional theatre company based in Vancouver with a mission to create and produce performances that deepen understanding of the disability experience.”
  • Propeller Dance – Ottawa
    • “Propeller Dance has been an innovator in the field of contemporary integrated dance and diverse performance practices in Canada since 2007. At the core of our work is the belief that dance is for all people, and as wide a breadth of expression as possible is of value.”
  • CRIPSiE (The Collaborative Radically Integrated Performers Society iEdmonton)
    • “An Edmonton-based collective of artists that include people who experience disability and their allies. We challenge dominant stories of disability and other forms of oppression, through high-quality crip and mad performance art, video art, and public education and outreach programs.”
  • Inside Out Theatre – Calgary 
    • “A Deaf and disability theatre company in sunny Calgary, Alberta equally invested in artistic excellence, community development, and deepening our cultures’ accessibility.”
  • Stage Left Productions – Calgary
    • “Stage Left Productions is a grassroots, Popular Theatre company of diverse artists and non-artists/ catalysts of change who create pathways to systemic equity – in and through the arts. The common thread in our disparate whole is a lived experience of disablement. Our teams promote equity & diversity in the arts, provide support services for equity-seeking artists and produce radical forms of Political Art.”

Disabled Creators:

  • Alex Bulmer
    • “With 30 professional years across theatre, television, film, radio, and education, Alex Bulmer is dedicated to inclusive collaborative art practice, fueled by a curiosity of the improbable and deeply informed by her experience of becoming blind.”
  • Bruce Horak
    • “Having lost over 90% of his eyesight to a childhood Cancer, Horak has navigated the world of the fully-sighted his entire life. For the past 25 years, Horak has pursued a career in the performing arts and has won numerous awards for his performance, writing, direction, and creation.”
  • Rachel Ganz
    • Rachel Ganz is a Toronto-based playwright, essayist, and story teller. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Newborn Theatre, The Odds and Ends Festival, and Down Mordechai Productions.
  • Graham Isador
    • “Graham Isador is a writer and theatre creator based out of Toronto. He trained as a part of the playwright unit at Soulpepper Theatre. Isador’s work has appeared at VICE, The Risk Podcast, and the punk rock satire site The Hard Times, among other places.”
  • Carmen Papalia
    • “Born in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territory in 1981, Carmen Papalia is an artist who uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, the art institution, and visual culture. His socially engaged practice is an effort to unlearn visual primacy and resist support options that promote ablest concepts of normalcy.”
  • Rod Michalko
    • “Rod Michalko is Associate Professor of Sociology at St. Francis Xavier University. He is the author of The Mystery of the Eye and the Shadow of Blindness (1998) and The Two- in-One: Walking with Smokie, Walking with Blindness (Temple, 1999).”
  • Melisse/Coyote Watson
    • “Melisse is a disruption-ist, earth-worker, counselor and multidisciplinary artist utilizing direct action, performance, visual, aural, and installation art that work to provoke an experience and an opportunity for the viewer to engage with critical analysis and self reflection – all while being intentional around access and audience.”
  • Jess Watkin
    • “A PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She has been consulting on a project-basis in Toronto and Canada (in person and online) since 2016 with companies such as Next Stage Theatre Festival, lemontree productions, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Live Describe, New College Library, Canadian Association of Theatre Research, Bodies in Translation, and more!”

Organizations

  • Bodies in Translation
    • “Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life (BIT), is a multidisciplinary, university-community research project that at its core, aims to cultivate and research activist art. In this project, ‘activist art’ refers to: disability art, Deaf art, Mad art, aging and e/Elder art, fat art, and Indigenous art.”
  • Creative Users Projects
    • “As a disability-led, national arts service organization, our community programs, and online platform connect people to cultural knowledge, resources, and accessible opportunities with the goal of helping artists and arts leaders build stronger and more inclusive communities.”

This list is by no means exhaustive; If you think we’ve missed anyone, please let us know.

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Blind Audiences and Theatres Toolkit - B.A.T.T. Copyright © by Sally Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

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