This past weekend, Ali Stroker became the first actor or actress who uses a wheelchair to be nominated for or win a Tony Award. Ali has used a wheelchair since she was injured in a car accident at the age of 2 but has not let that stop her from doing what she loves. She’s appeared on TV in shows such as the Glee Project and Glee, in addition to her work on Broadway. In 2015, she became the first performer in a wheelchair to perform in a Broadway production with her role of Anna in Spring Awakening. She has recently performed in the musical Oklahoma!, which you can still get tickets for through January of 2020. For her role as Ado Annie in the musical, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.
For those who want to participate in theater or film and are in a wheelchair there are resources all across the country for individuals who are passionate about acting, we’ve listed below a few theaters who welcome accessibility:
- Nicu’s Spoon Theater Company, New York City
This theater has been open to everyone since the start, inclusive of their age, gender, ability, or ethnicity.
- Mixed Blood Theater, Minneapolis
In 1976, this theater was founded to remove barriers present for people in theater, from the actors to the audience. For over 20 years the theater has produced touring productions about disability, written by and portrayed by people with disabilities. They provide free transportation to and from the theater for persons in need, in addition to putting on all of their shows free of cost.
- Theatre360, Phoenix
This troupe is committed to the voice of persons living with disabilities. They write and perform works that aim to break down barriers and establish a new, inclusive norm in society.
- Dancing Wheels, Cleveland
Their goals are to expand diversity in the arts, create role models for individuals with disabilities, dissolve negative stereotypes, and promote a better understanding of people’s abilities.
- VSA, International
The international organization on arts and disability was established over 35 years ago to create access to the arts for all. They work to enforce their core beliefs, which include the notions that all artists deserve access to high quality learning experiences, should be included in activities at all facilities, and should have the opportunity to pursue a career in the arts.
Whatever your interests are, or wherever you choose to go, we are encouraged to see that role models such as Ali are becoming more prevalent, and hope that everyone will be inspired to do what they love most.