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Reimagining Performing Arts and Disability

Reimagining Performing Arts and Disability

Our first Access Ideas and Insights quarterly panel discussion for 2023 was presented both in person at the Sydney Opera House and online.

Some of Sydney’s leading artists with disability discussed how the pandemic has shifted how we create and experience performance-based art. From comedians and actors to directors and playwrights, this exciting line-up featured professional artists across multiple artforms. This accessible free event provided insights into the latest innovations of the performing arts industry, such as:

  • Performing arts and disability representation
  • Innovations in creating performance-based art
  • Reflections on the performing arts in a post-pandemic world
  • Future visions for performing arts and accessibility

This event has now passed, however you can watch the recordings below. There are three versions, including captioned and Auslan interpreted recordings.

Reimagining Performing Arts and Disability

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Reimagining Performing Arts and Disability – Captioned 


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Reimagining Performing Arts and Disability – Auslan Interpreted and Captioned


Debra Keenahan | Artist and Writer
Debra is a multi-disciplinary artist working between video, performance, identity and social engagement. Her new work ‘Othering’ will premiere this month as part of the 2023 Sydney festival and her work ‘Smashing’ screened last year as part of the Cannes Short Film Festival: Independent Films. Debra is also a psychologist, academic and author, and has been a consultant to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on issues of Disability. Debra’s achondroplasia dwarfism informs her art by focussing upon the personal and social impacts of disability.

Anthea Williams | Director
Anthea is an established and award winning theatre director. Her work aims to foreground marginalised experiences by creating space for new and diverse voices. She often works with radical dramaturgies in order to privilege the relegated or forgotten. Anthea was Associate Director – New Work at Belvoir Street Theatre for seven years. Prior to this she was Associate Director at London’s Bush Theatre. Anthea is a Churchill Fellow and for her fellowship she researched script and writer development in the USA, UK and Canada. Anthea regularly writes about disability and representation for The Guardian Australia.

Jamal Abdul | Comedian
Jamal performed as part of Vivid Ideas and the Cowra Comedy Festival in 2022 with ‘Are You Pulling My Leg?’ He was the winner of the Stand Up and Be Counted Comedy Competition in 2017 and RAW Comedy State Finalist in 2018. He has performed as a part of the Sydney Comedy Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival and has received great reviews.

Liz Martin | MC – Accessible Arts CEO
With over 20 years’ experience working across the Australian arts and disability sector as advocate, musician, producer, project manager, trainer and advisor, Liz Martin is driven to contribute to an arts sector that is authentically representative, diverse, and accessible for everyone. Sydney-based, Liz Martin is an award-winning musician and Chief Executive Officer of Accessible Arts.

Thanks to our Event Partners

The accessible online access to this event is being managed by Pyrus Event Services. Pyrus is a specialist event production partner that crafts elegant and inclusive experiences for virtual and hybrid events.

Accessible Arts is proudly supported by Create NSW and this Hybrid Event Series has been made possible with support from the City of Sydney and Sydney Opera House.

Image Description: Black and white headshots of the three featured panelists. From left to right: Debra Keenahan, Jamal Abdul and Anthea Williams.


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