Accesible Performance … inaccessible to solo artists?


When making my degree show, BODYHOODS, I was determined for it to be as accessible as possible. However, I underestimated the logistical and financial challenges this would present to me. Even making the marketing material accessible was too expensive.

I couldn’t afford a BSL interpreter, and even if I could the interpreters I spoke to were used to interpreting shows with set scripts that were planned months in advance. The way I work lets the material morph, buckle and reinvent itself right until the dress rehearsal.

This set back has made me much more determined. It is mostly ‘mainstream’ work or work classed as ‘disability art’ that is made accessible to deaf audience members. It is difficult for me to understand why accessibility isn’t an assumed part of all art. Imagine someone dictated what performances you could go and see. If I told you that you could only see classical music concerts and not the pantomime, how would you feel?

Not making a performance accessible is an act of segregation. It is as clear a discrimination as having ‘No Coloured People Here’ above the door. Why is it unacceptable to expect black people to sit at the back of the bus, but people with tourettes have to sit in the lighting box and wheelchair users have to sit in designated spaces? When was someone’s bodily biology an excuse for overt discrimination and segregation?

Despite all of this, as a solo artist working on a very small budget (as most solo artists are, especially emerging ones) how can my work reflect my belief in accessible performance? This may be an investigation I have to follow for a long time.





Dear Bel

 Thank you for your bid to the Equality and Diversity Budget Panel.

This was a well put together submission and the panel fully respect and support the ambition to make CPP Graduation Shows fully accessible, but it is not deemed fair to support an individual student’s show.

 We are working with the Deaf Theatre Club to provide a broader menu of offerings to their members and this submission has reinforced that we are correct in our thinking that we shouldn’t continue to just offer signed performances of mainstream productions.

 The panel is disappointed to be unable to support this request and offers you every good wish for success in your Graduation Show.


The Equality and Diversity Board


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