A first of its kind in Canada, Cripping the Stage was the closing event to Cripping the Arts, a symposium exploring relevant issues in access, aesthetics, and justice, as well as seeking to advance Deaf and Disability Arts.
In collaboration with Tangled Art & Disability and Invisible Flash, we presented Cripping the Stage: an entirely inclusive and accessible cabaret at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, in April 2016.
It was exciting to encourage our partners to adapt their space for audiences and participants with disabilities including technical and marketing elements, as well as accessibility features.
With a packed house with 250 people in attendance, 30 of those in wheelchairs, 15 Deaf and one visually impaired person; the event was completely accessible. There was full live audio-description, sign language interpretation and attendant care offered to the audience. Additionally, Cripping the Stage welcomed its audience to a Relaxed Performance environment, which is specifically designed to welcome people who benefit from a more relaxed environment, including people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability. The event offered a relaxed attitude toward noise or movement throughout the entire performance and it was a big success with sold out tickets!
“Cripping the Stage was the just beginning of a much needed focus on Deaf and Disability programming. Many programmes have been developed to address physical access and barriers, but what is even more urgent is that there is a need, desire and what feels like a new space for developing Deaf and Disabled artists and I am enormously proud to have worked with the British Council, Tangled Arts and Invisible Flash and hope to continue this relationship for years to come.”
Tina Rasmussen, Director, Performing Arts, Harbourfront Centre
“Harkening back to the early days of disability arts, the crip cabaret that was Cripping the Stage was the performance event of the year! Tangled is so thankful for how the cross-cultural connections that the British Council is facilitating are contributing to the building up of our sector.” Eliza Bulmer, Artistic Director, Tangled Art and Disability
“It was an honour and a privilege to come and perform in the Cripping the Stage cabaret at the Harbourfront Centre. Everyone made me feel so welcome and it was fantastic to play to a sold-out crowd. I got a terrific response from the audience. I’d love to come back and perform again sometime.” Laurence Clark, British stand-up comedian, writer and actor
“Cripping the Stage was wonderfully funny, deeply poignant, irreverent, and at times disturbing as well as gloriously shocking. I think it is a must see for everyone.” Ines Buchli, Chair of the Department of Theatre, York University.