On Saturday I worked as a stage manager for One of Us Productions’ “Criptiques” made possible by the British Council for Culture , Mat Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz, and BAM.
And I was the assistant stage manager.
I had the opportunity to meet Laurence Clarke, and Liz Carr, and Bill Shannon. To listen to Lawrence Carter Long, Becky Curran and many others speak about media representation.
I was able to use a set of skills I have honed over a lifetime, to serve a community I love and belong to.
And during that day, I realized that I had been a part of something special. I had been a part of a production that from top to bottom, cared about access. We had a staff of ASL interpreters, and audio descriptors (whom I actually availed myself of once I was done working. It was awesome.) When I gave feedback on the lighting in the house, it was taken seriously. And one thing I saw made me tear up:
I go to the movies a lot with my husband and I need to sit in a specific spot to be able to see well. And we’ve often had to ask people to move so that I can see. Usually it happens in an awkward way and I feel weird about it, or they give us dirty looks or we have to ask for “someone in charge.”
At Cripfest I witnessed five people give up their seats without complaint, they said “no problem” and moved so that a group of blind audience members could sit where they needed to sit.
Radical inclusion in entertainment spaces isn’t just necessarily – but it’s POSSIBLE. I firmly believe that radical inclusion can happen on a larger scale, at more events, and still result in making a profit for entertainers.
It was an honor and a privilege to do my job, serve my community, and remember that I belong.
It also reminded me just how far we have to go. After 25 years of the Americans With Disabilities Act being law, things haven’t changed all that much. We have a lot more to do before radical inclusiveness isn’t something that makes me cry.
We have so far to go, but so many people want to do it. Let’s be radical. Let’s be inclusive. Let’s create spaces where everyone can enjoy art, whether or not they can see, hear, walk, talk.
I’m on board. Are you?