Accessing Diverse Theatre

Accessibility and Diversity are two burning topics in society right now. Especially in the theatre community, we are trying more and more everyday to make our spaces more accessible and diverse. But what does that mean? What does it look like?

On February 16th, we were happy to host a panel on Diversity with Out From Under the 69098045_104007547644963_1207535746102067200_oRug Theatre Collective. Established in 2019, Out From Under The Rug Theatre Collective is focused on creating works by, for, and about people of colour. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Out From Under The Rug intends to highlight the experiences of those whose voices often go unheard – or more often told to stop talking. As a collective, their goal is to emphasize a dedication to safe and accessible spaces. They would like to acknowledge our privilege of living, working, and creating on the traditional lands of The Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples and the Homeland of the Metis Nation. Visit them on Facebook HERE!

DSC_0019Panel discussions included topics such as, creating works of theatre with characters of colour where their ethnicity is not their entire personality. As well as how to create these characters and describe said characters when the playwright doesn’t share the same ethnicity. Panelists touched on the importance of representation in the arts and media, they specifically spoke on being a person of colour and how it feels to see yourself represented on the screen and on the stage. Out From Under the Rug’s member Sophie Smith-Dostmohamed described herself in childhood only ever wanting to watch the Disney film “Aladdin” as it was the only place she saw characters that looked like her, further emphasizing the need for representation.

During this panel, we were able to open up a conversation in a safe space about diversity in the theatre industry, where it’s headed and how we can improve. This panel was open to all and free of charge in a physically accessible building (wheelchair accessible, gender neutral restrooms, ASL interpretation). To further the conversation on diversifying theatre and allowing for more accessibility; not only in audiences but also for performers, we will be hosting a roundtable on accessibility on April 4th!

Accessibility On Stage and Off will occur on April 4th, 2020 from 2pm-4pm at the Cargill Boardroom at RMTC. Sarasvàti Productions, Arts AccessAbility Network and Sick + Twisted theatre will host a discussion on the subject of accessibility in theatre. This discussion will be lead by a panel of disability advocates. The discussion hopes to open a conversation on accessibility, what it means to be accessible and how we can improve on what theatres in Winnipeg are doing to make their spaces more accessible. We plan to discuss the importance beyond just the audience’s accessibility and touch on accessibility for performers.

Stay tuned for more on the Accessibility workshop coming soon! For more information on upcoming workshops visit our website HERE.