Alison's cover image
Alison

Alison Richardson

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: New South Wales Arts - Performing > Theatre And Stage
Social Welfare > Disabled And Disadvantaged
To explore disability led practices in theatre and investigate inclusive training and mentoring models - UK

Major lessons learnt

  • Vision, persistence, dedication, resilience and sheer hard work are qualities that most people working in the arts and disability sector possess and are keys to success.
  • In Australia we certainly don’t lack pioneers, visionaries or talent but what we do lack is funding and support for artists.
  • Recurrent arts funding is needed for training and development programs.
  • Disability led theatre is collaborative and this does not have to be in equal measure.
  • Successional planning is important to curb burn out of leaders within arts and disability organisations
  • The detrimental impact funding cuts to the either the arts or disability sector can have on decades of hard work, development and capacity building.
  • The fight for equality will never be over (or will it??) but that it is important to stop, acknowledge, reflect and congratulate each other on what has been achieved.
  • Most companies tour their work and it’s unusual if they don’t.
  • Quality, value and authenticity is to be applauded and that bigger is definitely not always better.
  • Having a ‘name’ attached to your show may bring in new audiences and profile to your company but there is a still a responsibility to the performers that the person directing / choreographing has the sensibilities needed to work in an inclusive, collaborative, respectful manner.
  • Programmers and producers been committed to access and inclusion by viewing work by people with disabilities.
  • Questioning whether work made by people with disabilities needs to be mainstreamed.
  • Embedded access in performance needs to happen at the start of the devising process with accessibility for all audience members in mind. Willingness to explore the challenges in doing this successfully and the exciting possibilities of playing with form, structure and aesthetic this brings.
  • Learning disabled’ artists (UK term) have over the years had to make more noise to be seen and heard so they are not overlooked and also that neurodiverse artists can be also misunderstood and overlooked.
  • Funding favours those that can firstly access and then comprehend and fill in largely inaccessible forms. More often than not this ‘favouring’ is of people without intellectual (‘learning’) disabilities. 

 

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