Disability, Pedagogies, and Performance

Disability, Pedagogy, and Performance Working Group (DPPWG)
Conveners: Ash McAskill (mcaskia003@gmail.com) and Jessica Watkin (jessicadwatkin@gmail.com)

In its second year as a working group, DPPWG will explore the current state of Canadian Deaf and disability theatre through the scope of plays and productions. We will focus on pieces written by artists with lived experiences, as all too often popular plays concerned with Deaf and disability culture are predominantly written by nondisabled and non-Deaf playwrights. Victoria Ann Lewis (1998) describes this problem as the dramaturgical equivalent to a “well-meaning bystander who insists on helping the blind subway traveler” to “an unwanted destination” (“The Dramaturgy of Disability”). These practices can lead to unproductive relationalities between Deaf and disabled artists, and their allied communities. The DPPWG is interested in looking at plays that are shifting these dramaturgical approaches to understanding Deaf and disability culture onstage.

We will also consider in what ways Deaf and disability arts events around North America have helped support and bring recognition to Deaf and disabled playwrights. At this year’s second meeting, the DPPWG will highlight plays and productions that are changing understandings and representations of Deaf and disability culture on Canadian stages. In addition, we will discuss the importance of incorporating such pieces in university theatre curriculums across North America.

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