Access theatre

Thoughts on access theatre vs access substance.
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Access isn’t just a collection of things, items, tools, ideas; and it often doesn’t work if you don’t know about or don’t care about what to do with the things, items, tools, ideas.
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If someone hands me a… i don’t know… let’s say some kind of car part… a flingflangin gasket hoohaw or whatever… there’s a real good chance i won’t know what the hell to do with it because i don’t give a crap about cars, have essentially zero knowledge about them (other than that they can apparently hold a lot of clowns, yes? and also that cars are traumatic for me), and so i haven’t taken the time to figure out what the part does or why it might be important. i can make flailing guesses, and some might even be right, and it often doesn’t matter. But if i’m expecting someone else to depend on the decisions i make around that car part, i am going to find out exactly what it is, how it works at its best, and probably enlist some help from folks who know.
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If you have tools/ resources around accessibility but haven’t taken the time to figure out how to use them, sometimes it’s more a hindrance than anything, sometimes it’s a bit of a slap in the face, and sometimes it can be damn right dangerous. Having a ramp that you haven’t secured properly or at the right angle is one example. It’s great that there’s a ramp, fantastic! But if your ramp isn’t properly secured or angled, someone is gonna get fucked up, i guarantee it. Saying your event is scent-free (yay!) when it’s actually scent-reduced (damn) is going to hurt someone and cause them (reasonably) to not feel they can trust you. Saying there won’t be strobe lighting at your show (yay!), then deciding to bust them out anyways (UGH!) is not cool, and it isn’t accessibility in practice.
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It has become access theatre.
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But i want and need access substance. It’s actually not enough to know that something exists in a space. i need to know (either through seeing you in action or otherwise) that you know wtf you’re doing with it, that it will actually be used/ implemented, and that you’re open to getting help with it or receiving feedback about it to help make it actually work.
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Does that make sense?
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One thought on “Access theatre

  1. Makes absolute sense. Just as providing Live Description for a theatre show is useless if your theatre is in a remote location with no public transit nearby unless you offer sighted guides to help people get there.

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