Music for the deaf, theater for the blind: how the arts address people with disabilities

Companies like SRT are well aware of the struggle to generate demand. Although it has increased, Adams said the challenge remains that “the service may be available, but we shouldn’t expect people to just show up at the door.”

Instead, gradually building a culture of patronizing the arts requires a long-term vision, said colleague Ms. Nors.

VSA’s Head of Performing Arts and Art Development, Mr. Peter Sau, added that performance can be improved to overcome “behavioral barriers”.

“When you don’t see disabled actors on stage, you get the impression that this world or this play isn’t actually very close to me, because I don’t see myself that way.

“So if we have disabled actors, for example… a blind Romeo, a Juliet in a wheelchair, maybe we will attract more disabled audiences.”

The VSA team added that increased funding from private companies would be extremely helpful, especially at a time when the pandemic has threatened arts businesses and their budgets for inclusion efforts.

ENSURE THAT EFFORTS ARE NOT WASTED

Returning to the importance of the demand, Ms. Yeo stressed, “If we cannot generate interest in the community, these efforts will be in vain.

Although engagement efforts have long been aimed at people with disabilities, she added that this may not be effective as they often need the encouragement of friends and family to attend events, especially if they have need help or support.

“We therefore need to target beyond people with disabilities themselves, but also their caregivers, friends or even colleagues.”

Ultimately, SRT’s Adams hopes demand will be strong enough to expand offerings further, as providing choice is key to affordability.

Ultimately, players reiterated that this has to be a long-term program, with efforts from all parts of the community.

“It can’t be something that we can just turn off. We have to keep doing it and keep evolving and pushing,” Adams said.

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