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What support is there for D/deaf and/or disabled people in theatre?

Get Into Theatre gives young people thousands of training, experience and funding opportunities from colleges, universities, drama schools, theatres and arts organisations all over the UK. These opportunities are for everyone no matter what gender you are, ethnicity, background or ability/disability. 

 

Find training, experience and funding opportunities for those with disabilities here. 

 

Access is a basic right and requirement that is constantly changing and improving the theatre industry and allows it to grow. Accessibility enables theatre practitioners (someone who creates theatre performances) and audiences to create, engage and enjoy. Find out more about Access to Work here. LINK

There are so many opportunities available, both on and offstage for people with disabilities, the problem is that young people don’t know where to find them. Not only that but they don’t know where/who you can turn to for support. We want to ensure that you have the knowledge and information that you need to pursue a career within the theatre industry so we have done the research for you. We have listed a number of amazing organisations that can help teach you, advise you and support you as you begin your dream career. 

 

Blind

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Helpline: 03031239999

RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. They offer help and support for blind and partially sighted people and this can be anything from practical and emotional support, campaigning for change and reading services. 

 

Vocal Eyes

This organisation aims to increase opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience and enjoy the arts and make them aware of the opportunities available to them.

See their opportunities here. 

 

D/deaf

Action Hearing Loss

Action Hearing Loss is the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. They support and help you from day-to-day care, to practical information, to campaigning for a fairer world for people with hearing loss, and funding research to find a cure.

 

Signed Culture

This organisation supports and promotes BSL access to the arts in the UK. 

 

All disabilities (including blind and D/deaf) and learning difficulties

Graeae

Graeae is a theatre company who produce theatre productions and also deliver training programmes and opportunities for aspiring and already established Actors, Directors and Writers. Graeae also provide bespoke access solutions such as:

  • Wheelchair accessible venues for productions and workshops
  • Coordinating and providing access support workers and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters
  • Arranging technology to make the creative process easier

See Graeae’s opportunities here. 

 

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap is one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies that creates work for the UK and international audiences. Their vision is to work in an arts sector where there is equal opportunity for performers with learning disabilities. They work in partnership with learning disabled artists to deliver a bold, cutting-edge and world-class artistic programme that makes an impact. 

Mind the Gap offers several training courses for adults with a learning disability to kick-start their career in performing arts which you can find here. LINK

 

Disability Arts Online

Disability Arts is an organisation led by disabled people and created to improve and support disability arts and culture. Disability Arts understand that being an artist can be difficult and even more so for disabled artists and this platform gives them a platform to blog, and share thoughts, images, projects and general daily things to be creative with other like-minded people. They also respond to email requests for information and advice. 

 

National Disability Theatre

National Disability Theatre employs professional theatre artists who create fully accessible, world-class theatre and storytelling; change social policy and the nation’s narrative about disability culture.

 

Unlimited

Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme - run by Shape Arts and Artsadmin - that enables new work by disabled artists to reach the UK and international audiences. They are the largest supporter of disabled artists worldwide.

 

Shape Arts

Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by:

  • Providing opportunities for disabled artists
  • Training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people
  • Running participatory arts and development programmes

They also provide access auditing and training services to arts organisations and delivering consultancy which works towards the improvement of cultural services for all disabled people.

 

Artsadmin

Artsadmin is a producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media. 

 

Access in London

Access in London is an informative guide for disabled people such as wheelchair users and those with limited walking ability and for whom stairs may be a challenge. It was created from information collected by visits, and reflects the experiences of disabled people. The guide combines information about where to stay, how to get around and the easiest ways of accessing the main places of interest with maps which include artwork. You can download the guide from the link above.

 

Deborah Groves - Acting and Dyslexia London

Training, mentoring, lectures and workshops in acting and performance for those with dyslexia.

See their opportunities here. 

 

Accentuate

Accentuate is a national programme which works in partnership with others to create groundbreaking projects which support and promote the talents of deaf and disabled people in the cultural sector. 

 

Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK are a Party Parliamentary Group for Disability. They are the leading charity of its kind in the UK and are run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. They work to influence national policy on independent living, benefits, education, employment, transport, human rights and other issues. 

 

Act for Change

The Act for Change Project is a registered charity. They campaign for better representation across the live and recorded arts. They aim to strengthen diversity and let people from underrepresented audiences know that a future exists with them firmly featured in it. 

 

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM)

BAPAM is a healthcare charity giving medical advice to people working and studying in the performing arts. 

 

The British Equity Collecting Society (BECS)

BECS is the UK’s only collective management organisation for audio visual performers.

 

Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT)

CDMT provides quality assurance for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries. It is the first point of contact for those seeking information on education, training and assessment in the UK. 

 

Dancers Career Development (DCD)

DCD is a registered charity and the only organisation of its kind in the UK to support Dancers to have a successful transition to alternative careers after retiring from professional performance. 

See DCD opportunities here.

 

Equity

Equity are a union of Performers and creative practitioners who fight for fair terms and conditions in the workplace. 

 

Equity Charitable Trust (ECT)

If you’re a professional Performer who wants to train for a new career, or who is facing financial difficulties, then ECT will help you.

 

Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU)

FEU provides training, information, advice, guidance and skills development opportunities to support your freelance career in the creative industries. 

 

One Dance UK

One Dance UK is the sector support organisation leading the way for a stronger, more vibrant and diverse dance sector. They advocate for the increased profile and importance of dance in all its diverse forms and settings as well as enhancing Dancers’ health, well-being and performance and identifying gaps, providing opportunities and improve conditions for dance to be learnt, discussed and seen. 

 

Variety and Light Entertainment Council (VLEC)

VLEC ensures the good order and practice of the variety and light entertainment industry, to ensure that the appropriate contract is used for every engagement and to resolve disputes, formally and informally. 

 

 

References:

Published: 3 January 2020

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