Inclusion: Deaf, disability and Mad arts

Changing the shape of Canadian theatre

Part 1: Summit 2016


In April 2016, NAC English Theatre gathered together 13 Deaf, disabled and Mad Artists/Leaders from across the country for Summit 2016, held at the Stratford Festival. This was a three-day conversation about the breadth and scope of Deaf, disability, Mad art and inclusion being created across this vast land. It was co-curated by Associate Artistic Director of English Theatre Sarah Garton Stanley and academic, activist and artist Syrus Marcus Ware, with nine cultural institutions participating as “Respondents”.

The NAC’s goal with the Cycle is to broadly impact the creative choices being made by theatres across Canada. This Cycle specifically aims to bring stronger representation of Deaf, disability and mad arts approaches, histories, struggles and stories to our national cultural identity.

Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre produced Summit 2016 with a wish to participate in changing the shape of Canadian Theatre and the processes by which it is made.  Jillian Keiley, Artistic Director of English Theatre, tasked Sarah Garton Stanley, Associate Artistic Director, with constructing an engaged and investigative space for questions of contemporary concern to Canadians. All avenues of participation, from production to performance to patronage, are impacted by access. Inclusive theatre practice is centrally important to our goals in English Theatre.