Performers with disability reflect on the state of access in Australia – Ausnew Home Care

Performers with disability reflect on the state of access in Australia's arts

Acessibility Artist dance disability Restless Dance Theatre

"It's an exciting time for disabled and d/Deaf actors," Carly Findlay said.

"[People with disability] are seen so much more in art, TV and the written word. If a young person sees a person with disability in a play, they can think 'wow, there's hope for me. I can do that too'."

Findlay, a writer, spoken-word performer and "appearance activist", has recently taken up the new post of inclusion coordinator for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The fact the role exists is a sign of progress for the industry and community, but there is still a way to go.

Her goal for her three-year tenure as inclusion coordinator is to get the proportion of artists with disabilities at Melbourne Fringe to around 20 per cent, which would be similar to the proportion in the general community.

Findlay knows what she is up against — her work with Quippings, a Melbourne-based troupe of queer/queer-allied d/Deaf and disabled performing artists, left her with an alarming snapshot of access within the arts.

"[I saw] the need for people to have a rest between performances and for wide doorways, ramps and accessible bathrooms backstage," she said.

She said her role, and others like it, will ensure "disabled people are represented in the arts, and that disability is front of mind, because so often it's forgotten".

And she's not the only one calling for change.

We spoke to seven performers about their experience of, and perspective on, access in Australia's performing arts scene.

Source: ABC 

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