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Diversity, opportunities and challenges of inclusive theatre

Publication of Innovations in Care
J.E. Nijkamp, M. Cardol | Article | Publication date: 11 November 2020
Many initiatives including theatre projects with disabled and non-disabled actors aim at increasing the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. We took theatre as the context to learn about these inclusive practices. We searched the scientific literature for case studies to investigate: 1) What can inclusive theatre performances look like?, 2) Which factors stimulate or hinder working inclusively within a theatre?, and 3) How are inclusive theatre performances looked upon? Overall, inclusive theatre can take various forms, however realising inclusive collaboration between actors with and without disability is not easy. Based on the findings, it appears that participants of inclusive theatre without disabilities need to be open to the different modes of expression of their colleagues with disabilities, and to value this expression and provide room for it. All participants with and without disabilities together need to develop new ways of working and co-creating, resulting in new skills and views. Inclusive theatre productions can make people think differently about ability and normality, while at the same time having aesthetic power, but it is still controversial to consider these productions as art instead of as social projects. It is important to realise that inclusive theatre implies changes for every participant, just as an inclusive society would.

Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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