Academic journal article TheatreForum

TF Casebook: Disability in Performance

Academic journal article TheatreForum

TF Casebook: Disability in Performance

Article excerpt

The editors at TheatreForum have decided to try something new in this edition. TheatreForum stays away from publishing full issues around a specific theme, but we have previously put together casebooks dealing with theatre festivals, such as our coverage of the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival in TF46 and TF48. In this issue, we present a casebook around one theme: disability. We hope to do similar casebooks on other topics in future issues.

Disabled performers are becoming much more visible in recent years (for instance Ali Stoker made history in 2015 by being the first wheelchair user to appear on Broadway when she was part of the cast of Spring Awakening) and the function of disability is quickly changing for both disabled characters and disabled actors. The typical scenario has been for disabled characters to be played by able-bodied actors and these roles are relished as a chance for an actor to show off his or her acting skills and hopefully secure an award nomination. Meanwhile, the opportunities for disabled actors have often been limited to participating in theatre as a form of arts therapy and, up until the middle of the twentieth century, as part of the freak show. This way of doing business is changing and the performers featured in this casebook are instrumental in doing so. …

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