'There's no way backstage'

Accesibility Artist dance disability Restless Dance Theatre

Erin Kyan advocates for a more flexible approach to rehearsals so that people with disability and/or chronic illness can fully participate.(ABC RN: Hannah Reich)

For spoken-word performer Erin Kyan, many theatres are failing at the most basic level — allowing performers to literally get on stage.

"A lot of theatres will have wheelchair access for the audience, but not for performers — so there's no way up to the stage [and] there's no way backstage," he said.

Kyan is a queer trans man who manages chronic illness; he uses a cane and sometimes a wheelchair.

"My biggest issue is that I'm not well enough to go out a lot," he said.

This means Kyan can't always attend full rehearsals, and often works from bed.

As such, he's a big advocate for new technologies, such as Skype, as a way to make rehearsals more accessible for him and others like him.

Kyan advocates for the "social model" of disability.

"What disables is not necessarily our disability, but the fact that the disability is not accommodated by society," he explains.

He cites Quippings as a rare example of a company implementing best practice.

"Not many other groups are willing to put the effort in to work with disabled performers. When you find ones that do, you cling onto them for dear life."

Source: ABC


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